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 ?
Getlink covers four commercial brands: Eurotunnel for freight and passenger shuttle services through the Channel Tunnel; Europorte for rail freight operations in France; ElecLink for the future electrical interconnector between France and the UK; and the Ciffco European railway training centre.
This is in comparison with the assets that stood to the credit of the liquidity account as on 30 June 2016 of 389,684 Groupe Eurotunnel shares and EUR 9,439,366.
Jacques Gounon, chairman and chief | Eurotunnel sees "encouraging signs" executive of Eurotunnel, said: "These encouraging signs, combined with new records broken this quarter for the group, put into perspective the change in public opinion following the vote in favour of Brexit: our business has never been stronger.
Eurotunnel said the incident shows "migrants are seeking new routes to cross to the UK" now that security at the site has been increased.
Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed that "a number" of people crossed the border, adding that the French and British governments needed to work with Eurotunnel to quickly address the issue.
A car of the security society of Eurotunnel follows a group of migrants near freight traf- |fic, in Calais, northern France, yesterday THIBAULT CAMUS
With this sale, the Eurotunnel Group said it will ensure that the activity remains in Calais, a situation which was not achieved when the SeaFrance Moliere was sold by its owner, Le Credit Lyonnais, to be operated in the Irish Sea.
It would be much better for passengers to have Eurotunnel running the rail link and two independent operators on the ferry route.
Eurotunnel said in statements here that the EU Commission announcement had led to a run on its share price and had shaved Euros 500 million (USD 650 million) off the value of the company in a two-day tumble last Thursday and Friday.
Eurotunnel chief executive Jacques Gounon announced that the company would ask for an investigation, in a letter to shareholders and published on the company's website.
The chairman and chief executive of Eurotunnel, Jacques Gounon, is optimistic of a possible compromise between the two national authorities, irrespective of the UK's final conclusion, which is due next month.
Eurotunnel counted the cost of a fire in September, 2008, which reduced capacity until February, as well as the chaos which ensued when Eurostar services succumbed to the snow last December.