Ellen G. White Writings

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Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, Page 229

The St. Gotthard Pass

After leaving Erstfeld, a large railway station, the ascent begins. A heavier engine has been attached to the train, and we enter a rocky defile flanked by steep and lofty mountains. At the base of these rushes the foaming river Reuss, forming of itself a succession of beautiful waterfalls, and receiving numberless smaller cascades which appears to spring from the tops of the highest peaks. As we proceed, the gorge begins to narrow and the interest to increase. It seems as though the turbulent Reuss, thinking merely of its own convenience, had cut a place just large enough for itself through the solid rocks. Therefore the train is obliged much of the way to make a path for itself within the mountain. The heaviest grade on the road is one foot in four. In many places, however, it has been made much less than this, by the use of bridges and curved tunnels, as shown in the accompanying engraving. There are three of these tunnels on the north side of the mountains, and four on the south side.

In the first of these tunnels, the Pfaffensprung, the train enters the side of a mountain, describes a complete ascending circle of over sixteen hundred yards, and, emerging from the mountain, crosses its own track one hundred and fifteen feet above the place where it entered. Then, crossing the boiling Reuss by a huge iron bridge, the train enters the Wattinger loop tunnel, in which an ascent of seventy-six feet is made. Then another bridge across the river, the considerable village of Wasen, and we plunge into the third curved tunnel. Beyond this the train skirts the mountain side, from which is obtained a grand view of the windings just traversed, lying far below. Altogether, this railroad has over fifty bridges, most of them large iron structures, and fifty-six tunnels.

The longest of these is called, by way of distinction, the St. Gotthard. This one tunnel is nine and one-fourth miles long. In the middle of it the road reaches its highest elevation, 3787 feet above the sea, and then begins to descend on the other side. During the seven and one-half years in which this one tunnel was in process of construction, twenty-five hundred workmen on an average were employed daily, and sometimes the number reached three thousand four hundred. The boring

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