Channel Tunnel Facts

Channel Tunnel Facts
The Channel Tunnel is an undersea tunnel that links northern France to Folkestone in the United Kingdom. Although the idea of an undersea tunnel was first brought up as early as 1751, construction of the Channel Tunnel did not begin until 1988 and was open for travel in 1994. Today the tunnel, built by Eurotunnel, carries high-speed passenger trains, freight trains, and a shuttle service and vehicle transport designed so that passengers use the shuttle and their vehicles travel separately.
Interesting Channel Tunnel Facts:
The Channel Tunnel is a 31.4 mile long undersea tunnel that reaches 250 feet below sea level at its lowest point. It has the longest portion of a tunnel undersea in the world, but the Seikan Tunnel in Japan goes deeper at 790 feet below sea level.
The tunnel was opened in 1994, at a cost of 80% more than the original budget.
It took 13,000 workers, technicians and engineers to build the tunnel.
The Channel Tunnel has a total of 3 tunnels. There are two running tunnels and a service tunnel that is smaller than the running tunnels. The two running tunnels are 30 meters apart.
The material used to build the tunnel was mainly Chalk Marl. Chalk Marl is approximately 100 million years old and was being created when the dinosaurs still walked the earth. It is a marine deposit made up of small fossils and has a high clay content which makes it impervious to water.
The lining of the tunnel is designed to last for 120 years.
During construction, the English side progressed faster than the French side. The French had more difficulty due to adverse conditions.
There is a section of the tunnel called the English and French Crossover where trains can change tunnels if they need to.
There are three pumping station under the sea and one on each shore to keep the tunnel system dry.
Because of the earth that was removed from undersea to build the tunnel, the UK has increased its size by 90 acres. The earth that was removed was deposited in several lagoons under Shakespeare Cliff and is now a popular place for fishing, walking and picnicking. The French used their earth to build a new hill.
It takes 35 minutes to go from France to the UK in this tunnel.
The running trains are 24 feet in diameter.
When the Channel Tunnel was complete it cost 15 billion. The original cost was estimated at 3.6 billion.
The English side was very worried that animals infected with rabies may make it through the tunnel. Great Britain had not had any rabies cases since 1902, so the tunnel had to be designed to ensure no animals could cross.
A fire that started in one of the trains in the tunnels on November 18, 1996 did a lot of damage to both the tunnel and the train before it was extinguished. The passengers were all rescued.
The Channel Tunnel was used by many illegal immigrants crossing into the UK. Additional security had to be installed to put an end to this.
It costs between $80 and $120 per vehicle to use the Channel Tunnel.

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