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Channel Tunnel

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The Channel Tunnel, or Chunnel, or le tunnel sous la Manche is a long-standing project that saw several false starts before finally being completed in 1994.

The United Kingdom and France announced plans to construct the Channel Tunnel on January 20, 1986 and it took 15,000 workers over seven years to complete. The Chunnel was officially opened by Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and French President Francois Mitterrand during a ceremony on May 6, 1994. This was the first time since the end of the Great Ice Age[?] that is was possible to travel between Great Britain and Europe on a land route.

The Channel Tunnel comprises two railway tunnels and a service tunnel, interconnected, underneath the English Channel, connecting Cheriton[?] in Kent, England and Sangatte[?] in northern France. It is 50 km long, out of which 39 km are undersea. The average depth is 40 m underneath the seabed. It opened for travel in 1994 and its rail service carries vehicles as well as passengers. Nearly 7 million passengers take the 35 minute journey travel through the tunnel every year.

The tunnel is operated by Eurotunnel[?]. Three types of train services operate:

  • Eurostar passenger service, running from London to Paris and Brussels with stops at Ashford[?], Calais-Frethun and Lille.
  • Le Shuttle, which carries cars and lorries across the channel similarly to the ferries: these run from Sangatte (Calais/Coquelles) to Folkestone
  • Freight trains

Asylum seekers[?] sometimes try to sneak aboard trains heading to England, believing their chances of receiving asylum are better there than in France.

It has been declared one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers[?].

The Channel Tunnel Rail Link when completed will provide the missing high-speed rail link from London to the tunnel.

Some history on earlier projects would be good

External links

  • Eurotunnel (http://www.eurotunnel.com/)
  • Channel Tunnel History (http://ww2.eurotunnel.com/rcs/etun/pb_english/en_wp_corp/en_fld_corp_about/en_fld_corp_us/index.jsp)

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