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Channel Tunnel
" Le tunnel sous la Manche".


The official opening of the Channel Tunnel by Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterand took place on 6th May 1994.

What is the Channel Tunnel?

The Channel Tunnel is the longest undersea tunnel in the world. The section under the sea is 38km long and the entire length is 31.4 mile (50.5-kilometre). At its lowest point it is 75 metres (250 ft) deep.

The Channel Tunnel links Folkestone, Kent in England with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover.

The Channel Tunnel comprises of three tunnels, each 50km long. There are two single-track rail tunnels, and a third smaller service tunnel.

The service tunnel allows access to maintenance and emergency rescue teams and serves as a safe haven if passengers need to be evacuated in an incident. The service tunnel is a road tunnel used by electric and diesel-powered vehicles.

The two single-track rail tunnels carries high-speed Eurostar passenger trains, Eurotunnel Shuttle drive-on/drive-off vehicle transport and international rail freight trains.

image: Eurostar
Eurostar Trains

When was the Channel Tunnel built?

Work on the Channel Tunnel started on 15 December 1987 with the boring of the service tunnel on the UK side. In 28 February 1988, boring of the service tunnel started on the French side.

First Landlink for 8,000 years
Three years later, on 1 December 1990, British and French teams achieved the first historic breakthrough under the Channel, in the service tunnel, 22.3 km from the UK and 15.6 km from France. The island of Britain became connected with the European mainland for the first time since the Ice Age about 8,000 years ago.

Who runs the Channel Tunnel?

The company Eurotunnel operates the Channel Tunnel.

Will a road tunnel ever be built between Britain and France?

Technology has improved so much that it could now be possible to consider a larger bore drive-through tunnel for cars, but not for lorries as they emit too much fumes.

Links

www.eurotunnel.com

Dover Castle

Also on this day ....

6 May 1840: The world's first prepaid adhesive postage stamp, the 'Penny Black' stamp, became valid for use in the UK. An adhesive stamp indicates that a letter has been paid for.

Before 1840, postage was charged on the number of sheets used and the distance to be travelled. Clerks assessed each package and wrote the fee on the letter to be collected on delivery.

The first postage stamp was proposed to reform the British postal system by Rowland Hill in 1837.

image: Penny Black

6 May 1954: Roger Bannister ran a mile in less than four minutes.
Roger Bannister, a 25-year-old British medical student, becomes the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes.

 

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