Channel Tunnel

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Channel Tunnel,

popularly called the "Chunnel," a three-tunnel railroad connection running under the English Channel, connecting Folkestone, England, and Calais, France. The tunnels are 31 mi (50 km) long. There are two rail tunnels, each 25 ft (7.6 m) in diameter, and a central tunnel, 16 ft (4.8 m) in diameter, that is used for maintenance and ventilation. The depth of the tunnels below the seabed averages about 150 ft (45 m). The project was a joint English and French venture, with a concession to operate the tunnel (until 2086) granted to Eurotunnel, a private company, and is the centerpiece of a high-speed rail link between London and Paris.

The project began with the signing of the Channel Tunnel Treaty between France and Britain in 1986; passenger service began in 1994. Freight trains and automobile- and truck-shuttle trains also use the tunnel. A higher than expected cost of digging the tunnels and lower than predicted tunnel traffic levels left Eurotunnel with huge debts, the repayment of which strained the finances of the company, threatened the company with insolvency, and led a French court to grant (2006) Eurotunnel creditor protection while the company reorganized (as Groupe Eurotunnel in 2007) and restructured its debt.


See G. Anderson and B. Roskrow, The Channel Tunnel Story (1994); T. Byrd, Making of the Channel Tunnel (1994); C. J. Kirkland, ed., Engineering the Channel Tunnel (1995).

References in periodicals archive ?
A spokesman for the Pas de Calais Prefecture, the local administration, said: "At around 2am a freight shuttle struck a migrant who was crossing the tracks on the site of the Channel Tunnel.
The 1,000MW interconnector project is a joint venture between Star Capital and Channel tunnel operators Groupe Eurotunnel and it will help send up to 50 per cent more electricity between Britain and France, through 32 miles of cables inside the tunnel.
Michael McCarthy, of Kestrel Park, Skelmersdale, was arrested after Steven Fitzsimmons, of Poverty Lane, Maghull, was stopped in February 2010 at the Channel Tunnel entrance in Coquelles, France.
LIFE ON THE FAST TRACK J The Channel Tunnel Rail Link connects London to Europe
The new operators will be responsible for running the line as well as stations such as the Channel Tunnel international terminal at St Pancras in London, and the stations at Stratford, Ashford and Ebbsfleet.
1bn to acquire the Channel Tunnel high-speed rail link (HS1).
DUBAI: The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) has agreed to join Morgan Stanley and private equity group 3i in a bid for the high-speed railway linking London with the Channel Tunnel, Abu Dhabi's National newspaper said.
Other bidders include Channel tunnel operator Groupe Eurotunnel SA which is working on a bid with Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners, its biggest shareholder, and with Infracapital, the infrastructure arm of Prudential unit M&G, another big shareholder.
Summary: PARIS, May 15, 2010, SPA -- The Channel Tunnel was reopened on Saturday after a smoke alert forced the closure of the rail link that connects Britain to continental Europe, Reuters quoted Eurotunnel as saying.
Speaking as he made history yesterday by becoming the first person to drive a sports car the full length of the Channel Tunnel, Surtees said he and his family had been touched by the support they had received since Henry was killed in the accident at Brands Hatch on July 19.
THE fire-hit Channel Tunnel re-opened to passenger trains today with a reduced service expected to operate, Eurostar said.
It is over 200 years since the construction of a Channel Tunnel was first proposed.

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