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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Would-be passengers at St Pancras International train station in London yesterday after Eurostar suspended all <Bservices through the Channel Tunnel due to migrant unrest in Calais.
All Channel Tunnel services were cancelled yesterday after fire broke out near France on the shuttle to Calais at around 11.25am.
A railway worker at the entrance to the Channel Tunnel near Calais, where a lorry caught fire yesterday
It takes a total of 35 minutes to travel from terminal to terminal and a surge in business travellers helped Channel Tunnel's high-speed train company Eurostar record increased sales in the first part of this year of PS227m - a seven per cent increase.
UPDATE: First proposed in 1802 as a tunnel for horse-drawn carriages, the Channel Tunnel, or Chunnel, was built starting in 1987 and opened in 1994.
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.
25 years ago SKILLED workers on Teesside could share in the 15,000 Channel Tunnel jobs bonanza, it was reported.
UK Border Force officers seized the drugs after searching a truck scheduled to cross the Channel Tunnel at Coquelles in northern France.
The 50km undersea Channel Tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent near Dover in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais, in northern France had been fraught with controversy ever since the idea was first raised in the early 1980s.
On 21 March, the European Railway Agency (ERA) vindicated Siemens in a technical opinion concerning whether to allow new types of trains in the Channel Tunnel. Eurostar, which operates passenger traffic in the Channel Tunnel, began the controversy, on 6 October 2010, with its purchase of ten high-speed trains costing 600 million from Siemens rather than its customary supplier, the French firm Alstom.
It is to be hoped that any new line would increase capacity between the Channel Tunnel and the Midlands and the north, especially containerised freight capacity With this in mind, the new line needs to make an end-on connection with High Speed One, formerly known as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
Summary: A Canadian consortium will be allowed to operate the High Speed 1 (HS1) Channel Tunnel rail link for the next 30 years.

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