Channel Tunnel: A Modern Wonder

Amazing Europe | | November 23, 2010 at 1:07 am


Ever since its inception, the Channel Tunnel has been showered with praise and criticism. Channel Tunnel is often called Chunnel. Channel Tunnel serves as an undersea link between England and France. The tunnel connects Folkestone in Kent to Coquelles near Calais. With the inclusion of the Channel Tunnel, property rates in France have soared. An increasing number of British travelers fancy the idea of owning property in France. They utilize the Channel Tunnel as a route to France.

Channel Tunnel’s history is unique. It is often regarded as one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Channel Tunnel contains the longest part of any tunnel located above sea level. Channel Tunnel is a masterpiece of engineering. In 1802 it was decided that France and England should be connected.

In 1802 Albert Mathieu suggested creation of an artificial island at mid-Channel. Horse-drawn carts would have to be depended upon for shipping people across both the countries. This idea never took off. However, it paved the way fresh ideas.

Security was the main concern for the next 170 years. The government of Britain was very apprehensive to open the borders of the country. They saw potential problems. Construction of the Channel Tunnel began in 1974, from the French as well as the British side. However, the Britishers changed their minds, and work was halted, citing financial reasons.

The British and French governments called for submissions for the Channel Tunnel in 1985. The project took off in 1987, nearly two years after several deliberations. The construction of the Channel Tunnel was completed in 1993. A new chapter began on French and Britain’s relationship.

Channel Tunnel’s Building

When all submissions were collected, it was agreed upon that Eurotunnel would bag the contract. The project was completed at a mammoth figure of 4.6 billion pounds. The cost exceeded by nearly 80 percent.

It was unanimously decided that three tunnels would be built. One tunnel could be used as a service or rescue tunnel. Two other tunnels would be used for transport services.

The Channel Tunnel train offers three services, including freight trains, Eurostar Passenger train, and Euro shuttle, which functions as a roll on roll off service.

Eurotunnel was the brain behind the Channel Tunnel. It looked after its creation. Eurotunnel is jointly owned by French and British partners. It was recently listed on the international stock market.

The year 1987 saw the use of the first tunneling machines. The first of the three tunnels was completed in 1990. The workers from France and Britain worked at their respective ends during construction. The two subsequent tunnels were completed in 1991.

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