Monday, January 20, 2003

Somport Tunnel

The road tunnel through the Pyrenees linking Pau in France with Saragossa in Spain finally opened on 17 January. The French entrance is situated in the Vallée d'Aspe, and tunnels under the Col du Somport.
After much controversy with environmentalists and delays due to safety revisions, prompted by the Mont Blanc and St. Gothard tunnel disasters, they have finally got the show on the road. If my French can be relied on, the railway following a similar route, tunnels included, was closed following an accident in 1970.
On 27 March that year a double-headed electric freight train failed to make the climb toward the summit and ran backwards toward the Pont de l'Estanguet, demolishing it, taking the bridge with it into the river. The line to Spain never re-opened although there have been recent efforts in France to bring it back after thirty years.

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