The Swiss have put on one of the most bizarre opening ceremonies in history to mark the completion of the world’s longest tunnel.
Famed for their trains, organisers roped in more than 600 dancers, acrobats and dramatic actors and even composed the new route’s very own theme tune as they pulled out all the stops for Wednesday’s inauguration at the tunnel’s northern portal in Erstfeld.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President Francois Hollande of France and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi all came to southern Switzerland for an upbeat, glitzy celebration featuring musical bands and dancers.
Under purple neon lights, performers dressed in orange miners’ suits and protective helmets danced atop a moving rail car to the rhythm of pick-axes and construction machinery.
Trapeze artists hung from chains or ropes, a band blared out a thumping military march and helicopters buzzed overhead as the celebration strived to both thrill and offer a show of European solidarity.
It also featured a baby with feathered white wings and oversized head and a man dancing with a bird’s nest on his head. Music was provided by Alpine horn players, an army band and live choirs.