Channel Tunnel: Facts and Information

Here are some interesting facts about the Channel Tunnel.

  • The Channel Tunnel is a 50 km long tunnel, running under the English Channel. It links Folkestone in Kent to Coquelles in northern France, and is sometimes known as the Chunnel.
  • Plans for a tunnel under the English Channel date back to 1802.
  • In 1882, a tunnel of almost 2,000 metres was dug from England, but abandoned over fears it could weaken Britain’s defences.
  • In 2014, The Channel Tunnel is the 5th longest railway tunnel, and the 11th longest tunnel in the world. It has the longest stretch of any tunnel under the sea, at 40 km.
  • 11 huge boring machines, together weighing more than the Eiffel Tower, were used for digging the tunnel, which cost £4.6 billion in total.
  • The tunnel opened in 1994, when the English and French ends met under the channel. It took 15,000 workers to build the tunnel, 10 of whom died during construction.
  • In 2009, the racing driver John Surtees drove a sports car through the tunnel, keeping to the 50 kmh speed limit. In 2014, Chris Froome was the first to cycle through the Channel Tunnel.
  • About 20 million people use the Channel Tunnel every year, and over 400 trains run through it daily. They carry people, cars and freight.
  • Immigrants have used the Channel Tunnel to enter Britain illegally.
  • During construction, the UK increased in size by about 90 acres, when all the earth removed from under the sea was dumped. In France, the earth removed was used for a new hill.
  • The tunnel’s lining is designed to last for at least 120 years. There are two main tunnels, about 35 metres apart, as well as a smaller service tunnel designed to be used in an emergency.

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