1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Simplon Pass

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SIMPLON PASS, a pass over the Alps. Not known early save as a purely local route, the Simplon Pass rose into importance when Napoleon caused the carriage road to be built across it between 1800 and 1807, though it suffered a new eclipse on the opening of the Mont Cenis (187 1) and St Gotthard railways (1882). The Simplon tunnel was opened in 1906. The pass proper starts from Brieg (Swiss canton of the Valais), which is in the upper Rhone valley and 901/2 m. by rail from Lausanne, past St Maurice and Sion. From Brieg it is about 14 m. up to the pass (6592 ft.), close to which is the hospice (first mentioned in 1235) in the charge of Austin Canons from the Great St Bernard. The road descends past the Swiss village of Simplon, and passes through the wonderful rock defile of Gondo before entering Italy at Iselle (28 m. from Brieg). Here the road joins the railway line through the tunnel, which is 12; m. in length, and 2313 ft. high, being thus both the longest and the lowest tunnel through the Alps. From Iselle it is about 1 1 m. by rail to Domo d'Ossola, whence the Toce or Tosa valley is followed to the Lago Maggiore (23 m.). The new line runs along the W. shore of the Lago Maggiore past Baveno, Stresa and Arona, and so on to Milan.  (W. A. B. C.)