Boring The Chunnel
|Home Page||Even before the battle of Hastings, in
1066, the histories of Britain and France were closely
connected. But it was only 1987 when that the two
countries signed a treaty to build a "fixed
link" between them. Following this an Anglo-French
engineering company, Eurotunnel, was given a 55-year
contract to build and operate a tunnel. It runs from
Folkstone in Kent, southeast England, to near Calais, in
The "Chunnel" is bored through the seabed beneath the 21-mile-wide stretch of water between these two countries. The Chunnel is also known as the Channel Tunnel, The Eurotunnel, and the TransManche Link. It presented engineers with a whole new world of challenges.
The Chunnel consists, in fact of three tunnels. The smaller central or service tunnel provides ventilation and access for maintenance and emergency vehicles. The two main tunnels shuttle high speed freight and passenger trains between France and England. The Chunnel was completed in 1993. The Chunnel is 10 miles longer than the distance between France and England because Geologists knew from earlier attempts at building a Channel Tunnel that the shortest way was not the easiest.
Four different types of trains run through the Chunnel, providing rapid, reliable, round-the-clock transportation between Britain and France. At peak times, up to 18 trains will be whistling in each direction. Most frequent are tourist trains. These travel between Britain and France carrying automobiles, campers, buses, bicycles, and their passengers. The journey time will be about 35 min. Running less often freight trains carrying trucks. High-speed passenger trains and overnight sleepers will travel through the Chunnel to major European cities such as Paris, Brussels, and Frankfurt. Finally the counter car, transporter, and Bulk load train that can carry goods all over Europe quickly with the use of the Chunnel!
The Chunnel incorporates a wide range of safety features. These should assure that if a rail accident should assure that in the event of a rail accident, that emergency vehicles would be there in minutes. There are also systems to prevent flooding, and to stop animals infected with rabies into Britain and France. Most features are located in the service tunnel and its passage ways. In the main tunnels there are surveillance and monitoring devices which can find any problem and notify the train driver.