World Coins

Switzerland issues coin for Alps mountain tunnel

Switzerland has issued a silver 20-franc coin to celebrate the opening of an Alpine mountain tunnel later in 2016. The Gotthard Base Tunnel will be the world’s longest and deepest traffic tunnel when it opens.

Coin images courtesy of Swissmint.

When the Gotthard Base Tunnel opens in 2016 after 17 years of construction, it will be the world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel and the first flat low-level route through the Alps.

The 35.4-mile route is scheduled to open June 1, but Swissmint has released a commemorative coin ahead of that opening.

The .835 fine silver 20-franc coin’s obverse shows a train emerging from one side of the tunnel's north portal and was designed by Fredy Trümpi. 

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The common reverse depicts the denomination, nation’s name and year of issue. 

Switzerland’s Federal Council will officially open the construction project of the century in the presence of state guests from all over Europe. 

The festivities for the public are scheduled for June 4 and 5. 

Once the new base tunnel is put into operation on Dec. 11, 2016, rail passengers will benefit from a faster connection on the north-south axis. Passenger trains will run on this line every half hour. A total of 260 freight trains will be able to pass through the tunnel every day instead of 180 before the expansion.

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Passenger trains will reach speeds of up to 200 kilometers an hour (124 miles per hour) and freight trains will operate at 100 kilometers per hour (about 62 miles per hour).

The coin design is available in two versions, both weighing 20 grams and measuring 33 millimeters in diameter.

The Uncirculated coin has a mintage limit of 30,000 pieces and the Proof version has a mintage of 5,000 pieces. 

Distributor Coin & Currency Institute will offer the coins, but pricing was not available at publication time.

To learn more, visit the distributor website.

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