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The Channel Tunnel (also referred to as the Chunnel) is a railway
tunnel A tunnel is an underground passageway, dug through the surrounding soil/earth/rock and enclosed except for entrance and exit, commonly at each end. A pipeline is not a tunnel, though some recent tunnels have used immersed tube constructio ...

tunnel
that connects
Folkestone Folkestone ( ) is a port town on the English Channel, in Kent, south-east England. The town lies on the southern edge of the North Downs at a valley between two cliffs. It was an important harbour and shipping port for most of the 19th and 20th ...

Folkestone
(
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived ...

Kent
,
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. En ...

England
, ) with
Coquelles Coquelles ( vls, Kalkwelle, lang) is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstr ...
(
Hauts-de-France Hauts-de-France (; pcd, Heuts-d'Franche; ) is the northernmost region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact characteristics ( human geography), and the interacti ...

Hauts-de-France
,
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and Overseas France, several overseas regions and territories. The metro ...

France
) beneath the
English Channel The English Channel,, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" (Cotentinais) or (Jèrriais), (Guernésiais), "The Channel"; br, Mor Breizh, "Sea of Brittany"; cy, Môr Udd, "Lord's Sea"; kw, Mor Bretannek, "British Sea"; nl, Het Kana ...

English Channel
at the
Strait of Dover The Strait of Dover or Dover Strait, historically known as the Dover Narrows (french: Pas de Calais - ''Strait of Calais''; nl, Nauw van Calais or the lesser used ''Straat van Dover''), is the strait at the narrowest part of the English Chann ...
. It is the only fixed link between the island of
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
and the European mainland. At its lowest point, it is deep below the sea bed and below sea level. At , the tunnel has the longest underwater section of any tunnel in the world, and is the third longest railway tunnel in the world. The speed limit for trains through the tunnel is . The Channel Tunnel is owned and operated by the company
Getlink Getlink, formerly Groupe Eurotunnel, is a European public company based in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated populatio ...
, formerly "Groupe Eurotunnel". The tunnel carries high-speed
Eurostar Eurostar is an international high-speed rail service connecting the United Kingdom with France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Most Eurostar trains travel through the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France, owned and operated sepa ...

Eurostar
passenger trains, the
Eurotunnel Shuttle Eurotunnel Le Shuttle (sometimes shortened to Le Shuttle or The Shuttle) is a railway shuttle service between Coquelles (near Calais Calais ( , , traditionally , ; pcd, Calés; vls, Kales) is a city A city is a large human settlement. ...

Eurotunnel Shuttle
for road vehicles and international
freight trains In economics, the word cargo refers in particular to goods or produce being conveyed—generally for Commerce, commercial gain—by water, air or land. "Freight" is the money paid to carry cargo. ''Cargo'' was originally a shipload. Cargo n ...
. The tunnel connects end-to-end with the
high-speed rail High-speed rail (HSR) is a type of rail transport that runs significantly faster than traditional rail traffic, using an integrated system of specialized rolling stock and dedicated tracks. While there is no single standard that applies worldwi ...
way lines of the
LGV Nord The Ligne à Grand Vitesse Nord (North High-Speed Line), typically shortened to LGV Nord, is a France, French -long high-speed rail line, opened in 1993, that connects Paris to the Belgium–France border, Belgian border and the Channel Tunnel via ...

LGV Nord
in France and
High Speed 1 High Speed 1 (HS1), legally the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), is a high-speed railway linking London with the Channel Tunnel. The line carries international passenger traffic between the United Kingdom and mainland Europe; it also carries ...

High Speed 1
in England. In 2017, through rail services carried 10.3 million passengers and 1.22 million tonnes of freight, and the Shuttle carried 10.4 million passengers, 2.6 million cars, 51,000 coaches, and 1.6 million lorries (equivalent to 21.3 million tonnes of freight). This compares with 11.7 million passengers, 2.6 million lorries and 2.2 million cars by sea through the
Port of Dover The Port of Dover is a cross-channel ferry, cruise terminal, maritime cargo and marina facility situated in Dover Dover () is a town and major ferry port in Kent, South East England. It faces France across the Strait of Dover, the narrowest ...
. Plans to build a cross-Channel fixed link appeared as early as 1802, but British political and media pressure over the compromising of national security had disrupted attempts to build a tunnel. An early unsuccessful attempt at building a tunnel was made in the late 19th century, on the English side, "in the hope of forcing the hand of the English Government". The eventual successful project, organised by
Eurotunnel Getlink, formerly Groupe Eurotunnel, is a European public company based in Paris that manages and operates the infrastructure of the Channel Tunnel between England and France, operates the Eurotunnel Shuttle train service, and earns revenue on ...
, began construction in 1988 and opened in 1994. Valued at £5.5 billion in 1985, it was at the time the most expensive construction project ever proposed. The cost finally amounted to £9 billion (equivalent to £ billion in ), well over its predicted budget. Since its construction, the tunnel has experienced a few mechanical problems. Both fires and cold weather have temporarily disrupted its operation. Since at least 1997, aggregations of migrants around Calais who seek irregular, undocumented and/or otherwise illegal entry to the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...

United Kingdom
such as through the tunnel, have prompted deterrence and counter-measures alongside looking at practical supports to relieve the lands they are fleeing or seeking a better life from.


Origins


Earlier proposals

In 1802, Albert Mathieu-Favier, a French mining engineer, put forward a proposal to tunnel under the English Channel, with illumination from oil lamps, horse-drawn coaches, and an artificial island positioned mid-Channel for changing horses.Whiteside p. 17 Mathieu-Favier's design envisaged a bored two-level tunnel with the top tunnel used for transport and the bottom one for
groundwater Groundwater is the water present beneath Earth's surface in rock and Pore space in soil, soil pore spaces and in the fractures of stratum, rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usabl ...

groundwater
flows. In 1839, Aimé Thomé de Gamond, a Frenchman, performed the first geological and hydrographical surveys on the Channel, between Calais and Dover. Thomé de Gamond explored several schemes and, in 1856, he presented a proposal to
Napoleon III Napoleon III (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte; 20 April 18089 January 1873) was the first President of France The president of France, officially the President of the French Republic (french: Président de la République française), is th ...

Napoleon III
for a mined railway tunnel from Cap Gris-Nez to with a port/airshaft on the Varne sandbankWhiteside pp. 18–23 at a cost of 170 million
francs The franc is any of several units of currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, In a 1786 James Gil ...
, or less than £7 million. In 1865, a deputation led by
George Ward Hunt George Ward Hunt (30 July 1825 – 29 July 1877) was a United Kingdom, British statesman of the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party who was Chancellor of the Exchequer and First Lord of the Admiralty in the first and second ministries of ...

George Ward Hunt
proposed the idea of a tunnel to the
Chancellor of the Exchequer The Chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the Chancellor, is a high ranking Minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of HM Treasury, Her Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, ...
of the day,
William Ewart Gladstone William Ewart Gladstone (; 29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British statesman and Liberal politician. In a career lasting over 60 years, he served for 12 years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of t ...

William Ewart Gladstone
. Around 1866, William Low and Sir John Hawkshaw promoted ideas, but apart from preliminary geological studies none were implemented. An official Anglo-French protocol was established in 1876 for a cross-Channel railway tunnel. In 1881, the British railway entrepreneur Sir Edward Watkin and
Alexandre Lavalley Alexandre-Théodore Lavalley, (October 9, 1821 – July 20, 1892) was an engineer and French politician. Paul Borel and Lavalley were contractors of the Suez Canal Company who designed, built, and operated the dredging machines that finished exca ...
, a French
Suez Canal The Suez Canal ( ar, قَنَاةُ ٱلسُّوَيْسِ, ') is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez and dividing Africa and Asia. The canal is part of the Silk ...
contractor, were in the Anglo-French Submarine Railway Company that conducted exploratory work on both sides of the Channel. On the English side a diameter Beaumont-English boring machine dug a pilot tunnel from
Shakespeare Cliff Shakespeare Cliff Halt is a private halt station on the South Eastern Main Line. It is located to the western end of the dual bore Shakespeare Cliff tunnel on the South Eastern Main Line to Folkestone, England. It never appeared in any public ti ...
. On the French side, a similar machine dug from
Sangatte Sangatte () is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais Departments of France, department on the northern coast of France on the English Channel. The name is of Flemish origin, meaning hole or gap in the sand. Engineering Sangatte is the location for the C ...

Sangatte
. The project was abandoned in May 1882, owing to British political and press campaigns asserting that a tunnel would compromise Britain's national defences. These early works were encountered more than a century later during the TML project. A 1907 film, '' Tunnelling the English Channel'' by pioneer filmmaker
Georges Méliès Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès (; ; 8 December 1861 – 21 January 1938), was a French magic (illusion), illusionist, actor, and film director who led many technical and narrative developments in the earliest days of film, cinema. Méliès was well ...

Georges Méliès
, depicts
King Edward VII Edward VII (Albert Edward; 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910. The eldest son of Queen ...

King Edward VII
and President
Armand Fallières Clément Armand Fallières (; 6 November 1841 – 22 June 1931) was a French statesman who was President of France from 1906 to 1913. He was born at Mézin in the ''département'' of Lot-et-Garonne, France, where his father was clerk of the ...

Armand Fallières
dreaming of building a tunnel under the
English Channel The English Channel,, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" (Cotentinais) or (Jèrriais), (Guernésiais), "The Channel"; br, Mor Breizh, "Sea of Brittany"; cy, Môr Udd, "Lord's Sea"; kw, Mor Bretannek, "British Sea"; nl, Het Kana ...

English Channel
. In 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference, the British prime minister,
David Lloyd George David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a Welsh statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1916 to 1922. He was the final Liberal to hold the post of prime ministe ...

David Lloyd George
, repeatedly brought up the idea of a Channel tunnel as a way of reassuring France about British willingness to defend against another German attack. The French did not take the idea seriously, and nothing came of Lloyd George's proposal. In the 1920s,
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head o ...

Winston Churchill
had advocated for the Channel Tunnel, using that exact name in an essay entitled "Should Strategists Veto The Tunnel?" The essay was published on 27 July 1924 in the '' Weekly Dispatch'', and argued vehemently against the idea that the tunnel could be used by a Continental enemy in an invasion of Britain. Churchill expressed his enthusiasm for the project again in an article for the ''
Daily Mail The ''Daily Mail'' is a British daily middle-market newspaper and news website An online newspaper is the online version of a newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, informati ...
'' on 12 February 1936, "Why Not A Channel Tunnel?" There was another proposal in 1929, but nothing came of this discussion and the idea was shelved. Proponents estimated the construction cost at US$150 million. The engineers had addressed the concerns of both nations' military leaders by designing two
sump A sump (American English and some parts of Canada: oil pan) is a low space that collects often undesirable liquids such as water or chemicals. A sump can also be an infiltration basin used to manage surface runoff water and recharge underground ...
s—one near the coast of each country—that could be flooded at will to block the tunnel. But this did not appease military leaders, and other concerns about hordes of tourists who would disrupt English life. Military fears continued during the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the gr ...
. After the
fall of France The Battle of France, also known as the Fall of France, was the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany ...
, as Britain prepared for an expected German invasion, a
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and int ...
officer in the
Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development Directorate may refer to: Contemporary *Directorates of the Scottish Government * Directorate-General, a type of specialised administrative body in the European Union * Directorate-General for External Security, the French external intelligence age ...
calculated that Hitler could use
slave labour Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person (a slaver), while treated as property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved person being made ...
to build two Channel tunnels in 18 months. The estimate caused rumours that Germany had already begun digging. A British film from Gaumont Studios, ''The Tunnel'' (also called ''TransAtlantic Tunnel''), was released in 1935 as a futuristic science fiction project concerning the creation of a transatlantic tunnel. It referred briefly to its protagonist, a Mr. McAllan, as having completed a British Channel tunnel successfully in 1940, five years into the future of the film's release. By 1955, defence arguments had become less relevant due to the dominance of air power, and both the British and French governments supported technical and geological surveys. In 1958 the 1881 workings were cleared in preparation for a £100,000 geological survey by the Channel Tunnel Study Group. 30% of the funding came from the Channel Tunnel Co Ltd, the largest shareholder of which was the
British Transport Commission The British Transport Commission (BTC) was created by Clement Attlee's post-war Labour government as a part of its nationalisation Nationalization, or nationalisation, is the process of transforming privately owned asset In financial accounta ...
, as successor to the South Eastern Railway. A detailed geological survey was carried out in 1964 and 1965. Online presentation of a 1964–65 film documentary of a geological survey of the Channel, with a brief summary. Although the two countries agreed to build a tunnel in 1964, the phase 1 initial studies and signing of a second agreement to cover phase 2 took until 1973. Construction work of this government-funded project to create two tunnels designed to accommodate car shuttle wagons on either side of a service tunnel started on both sides of the Channel in 1974. On 20 January 1975, to the dismay of their French partners, the then-governing Labour Party in Britain cancelled the project due to uncertainty about
EEC The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization that aimed to bring about economic integration among its member states. It was created by the Treaty of Rome The Treaty of Rome, or EEC Treaty (officially the Treaty est ...

EEC
membership, doubling cost estimates and the general economic crisis at the time. By this time the British tunnel boring machine was ready and the Ministry of Transport was able to do a experimental drive. This short tunnel was reused as the starting and access point for tunnelling operations from the British side. The cancellation costs were estimated to be £17 million. On the French side, a tunnel boring machine had been installed underground in a stub tunnel. It lay there for 14 years until 1988, when it was sold, dismantled, refurbished and shipped to Turkey where it was used to drive the Moda tunnel for the Istanbul Sewerage Scheme, designed and supervised by British Civil Engineers Binnie & Partners, and officially opened by Margaret Thatcher in 1989.


Initiation of project

In 1979, the "Mouse-hole Project" was suggested when the Conservatives came to power in Britain. The concept was a single-track rail tunnel with a service tunnel, but without shuttle terminals. The British government took no interest in funding the project, but the British Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013), was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either ...

Margaret Thatcher
did not object to a privately funded project, although she said she assumed it would be for cars rather than trains. In 1981, Thatcher and the French president
François Mitterrand François Marie Adrien Maurice Mitterrand (26 October 1916 – 8 January 1996) was a French statesman who served as President of France from 1981 to 1995, the longest time in office in the history of France. As First Secretary of the Socialist Pa ...
agreed to establish a working group to evaluate a privately funded project. In June 1982 the Franco-British study group favoured a twin tunnel to accommodate conventional trains and a vehicle shuttle service. In April 1985 promoters were invited to submit scheme proposals. Four submissions were shortlisted: * Channel Tunnel, a rail proposal based on the 1975 scheme presented by Channel Tunnel Group/France–Manche (CTG/F–M). * Eurobridge, a
suspension bridge A suspension bridge is a type of bridge in which the deck (the load-bearing portion) is hung below suspension cables on vertical suspenders. The first modern examples of this type of bridge were built in the early 1800s. Simple suspension br ...

suspension bridge
with a series of spans with a roadway in an enclosed tube. * Euroroute, a tunnel between artificial islands approached by bridges. * Channel Expressway, a set of large-diameter road tunnels with mid-Channel ventilation towers. The cross-Channel ferry industry protested under the name "Flexilink". In 1975 there was no campaign protesting against a fixed link, with one of the largest ferry operators (
Sealink Sealink was a ferry company based in the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1984, operating services to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Isle of Wight and Ireland. Ports served by the company included: Port of Dover, D ...

Sealink
) being state-owned. Flexilink continued rousing opposition throughout 1986 and 1987. Public opinion strongly favoured a drive-through tunnel, but concerns about ventilation, accident management and driver mesmerisation led to the only shortlisted rail submission, CTG/F-M, being awarded the project in January 1986.Wilson pp. 14–21 Reasons given for the selection included that it caused least disruption to shipping in the Channel, least environmental disruption, was the best protected against terrorism, and was the most likely to attract sufficient private finance.


Arrangement

The British ''Channel Tunnel Group'' consisted of two banks and five construction companies, while their French counterparts, ''France–Manche'', consisted of three banks and five construction companies. The role of the banks was to advise on financing and secure loan commitments. On 2 July 1985, the groups formed Channel Tunnel Group/France–Manche (CTG/F–M). Their submission to the British and French governments was drawn from the 1975 project, including 11 volumes and a substantial environmental impact statement. Anglo-French Treaty on the Channel Tunnel was signed by both governments in . The
Treaty of Canterbury (1986) The Treaty of Canterbury ( fr. ''Traité de Cantorbéry'') was signed by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, (; 13 October 19258 April 2013) was a British who served as Prime Mi ...
prepared the Concession for the construction and operation of the Fixed Link by privately owned companies. It outlines the methods to be used for arbitration in the event of a dispute. It sets up the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) which is responsible for monitoring all matters associated with the construction and operation of the Tunnel on behalf of the British and French governments, together with a Safety Authority to advise the IGC. It draws a land frontier between the two countries in the middle of the
Channel tunnel The Channel Tunnel (french: link=no, Le tunnel sous la Manche), also referred to as the Eurotunnel or Chunnel, is a railway tunnel that connects Folkestone (Kent Kent is a Counties of England, county in South East England and one of the h ...
—the first of its kind.Eurotunnel 2005 Annual Review, accessed on 10 December 2007 The design and construction was done by the ten construction companies in the CTG/F-M group. The French terminal and boring from Sangatte was done by the five French construction companies in the joint venture group ''GIE Transmanche Construction''. The English Terminal and boring from Shakespeare Cliff was done by the five British construction companies in the ''Translink Joint Venture''. The two partnerships were linked by a bi-national project organisation called
TransManche Link TransManche Link (Cross Channel Link) or TML was a British-French construction consortium responsible for building the Channel Tunnel under the English Channel between Cheriton, Kent, Cheriton in Kent, United Kingdom, and Coquelles in France. Hist ...
(TML). The ''Maître d'Oeuvre'' was a supervisory engineering body employed by Eurotunnel under the terms of the concession that monitored the project and reported to the governments and banks.Kirkland pp. 10–11 In France, with its long tradition of infrastructure investment, the project had widespread approval. The French National Assembly approved it unanimously in April 1987, and after a public inquiry, the Senate approved it unanimously in June. In Britain, select committees examined the proposal, making history by holding hearings away from Westminster, in Kent. In February 1987, the third reading of the Channel Tunnel Bill took place in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In the UK and Canada, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. The lead ...

House of Commons
, and passed by 94 votes to 22. The Channel Tunnel Act gained Royal assent and passed into law in July. Parliamentary support for the project came partly from provincial members of Parliament on the basis of promises of
regional Eurostar Regional Eurostar was a planned Eurostar ''Eurostar'' is an international high-speed rail High-speed rail (HSR) is a type of rail transport that runs significantly faster than traditional rail traffic, using an integrated system of spe ...
through train services that never materialised; the promises were repeated in 1996 when the contract for construction of the
Channel Tunnel Rail Link High Speed 1 (HS1), legally the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), is a high-speed rail High-speed rail (HSR) is a type of rail transport that runs significantly faster than traditional rail traffic, using an integrated system of specialized ...
was awarded.


Cost

The tunnel is a build-own-operate-transfer (
BOOT A boot, plural boots, is a type of specific footwear Footwear refers to garments worn on the feet, which originally serves to purpose of protective clothing, protection against adversities of the environment, usually regarding ground textures ...
) project with a concession.Flyvbjerg et al. pp. 96–97 TML would design and build the tunnel, but financing was through a separate legal entity, Eurotunnel. Eurotunnel absorbed CTG/F-M and signed a construction contract with TML, but the British and French governments controlled final engineering and safety decisions, now in the hands of the
Channel Tunnel Safety Authority The Channel Tunnel Safety Authority is an international regulatory body responsible for safety in the Channel Tunnel The Channel Tunnel (french: link=no, Le tunnel sous la Manche), also referred to as the Eurotunnel or Chunnel, is a railway ...
. The British and French governments gave Eurotunnel a 55-year operating concession (from 1987; extended by 10 years to 65 years in 1993) to repay loans and pay dividends. A Railway Usage Agreement was signed between Eurotunnel,
British Rail British Railways (BR), which from 1965 traded as British Rail, was the state-owned company that operated most of the overground rail transport in Great Britain The railway system in Great Britain is the oldest railway system in the world. T ...
and
SNCF The Société nationale des chemins de fer français (; abbreviated as SNCF ; ) is France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting o ...

SNCF
guaranteeing future revenue in exchange for the railways obtaining half of the tunnel's capacity. Private funding for such a complex infrastructure project was of unprecedented scale. An initial equity of £45 million was raised by CTG/F-M, increased by £206 million private institutional placement, £770 million was raised in a public share offer that included press and television advertisements, a syndicated bank loan and
letter of credit . to bank in exchange for payment. Seller's bank then provides the bill to buyer's bank, who provides the bill to buyer. Image:Letter of credit 4.png, Image 4: Buyer provides the bill of lading to carrier and takes delivery of the goods. A lett ...
arranged £5 billion. Privately financed, the total investment costs at 1985 prices were £2.6 billion. At the 1994 completion actual costs were, in 1985 prices, £4.65 billion: an 80%
cost overrun A cost overrun, also known as a cost increase or budget overrun, involves unexpected incurred costs. When these costs are in excess of budgeted amounts due to an underestimation of the actual cost during budgeting, they are known by these terms. ...
.Flyvbjerg et al. p. 12 The cost overrun was partly due to enhanced safety, security, and environmental demands. Financing costs were 140% higher than forecast.Flyvbjerg et al. p. 3


Construction

Working from both the English side and the French side of the Channel, eleven
tunnel boring machine A tunnel boring machine (TBM), also known as a "mole", is a machine used to excavate tunnels with a circular cross section through a variety of soil and rock strata. They may also be used for microtunneling. They can be designed to Boring (eart ...
s or TBMs cut through chalk
marl __NOTOC__ Marl or marlstone is a carbonate mineral, carbonate-rich mud or mudstone which contains variable amounts of Clay minerals, clays and silt. The term was originally loosely applied to a variety of materials, most of which occur as loose ...

marl
to construct two rail tunnels and a service tunnel. The vehicle shuttle terminals are at Cheriton (part of
Folkestone Folkestone ( ) is a port town on the English Channel, in Kent, south-east England. The town lies on the southern edge of the North Downs at a valley between two cliffs. It was an important harbour and shipping port for most of the 19th and 20th ...

Folkestone
) and Coquelles, and are connected to the English M20 and French A16 motorways respectively. Tunnelling commenced in 1988, and the tunnel began operating in 1994. In 1985 prices, the total construction cost was £4.65 billion (equivalent to £ billion in 2015), an 80% cost overrun. At the peak of construction 15,000 people were employed with daily expenditure over £3 million.Anderson, pp. xvi–xvii Ten workers, eight of them British, were killed during construction between 1987 and 1993, most in the first few months of boring.


Completion

A 50 mm (2 in) diameter pilot hole allowed the service tunnel to break through without ceremony on 30 October 1990. On 1 December 1990, Englishman Graham Fagg and Frenchman Phillippe Cozette broke through the service tunnel with the media watching. Eurotunnel completed the tunnel on time. (A
BBC TV BBC Television is a service of the BBC. The corporation has operated in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and ...
television commentator called Graham Fagg "the first man to cross the Channel by land for 8000 years".) The two tunnelling efforts met each other with an offset of only 36.2 cm. The tunnel was officially opened, one year later than originally planned, by
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke of York, Duke and Duchess of York (later Kin ...
and the French president,
François Mitterrand François Marie Adrien Maurice Mitterrand (26 October 1916 – 8 January 1996) was a French statesman who served as President of France from 1981 to 1995, the longest time in office in the history of France. As First Secretary of the Socialist Pa ...
, in a ceremony held in
Calais Calais ( , , traditionally , ; pcd, Calés; vls, Kales) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science ...
on 6 May 1994. The Queen travelled through the tunnel to Calais on a
Eurostar Eurostar is an international high-speed rail service connecting the United Kingdom with France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Most Eurostar trains travel through the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France, owned and operated sepa ...

Eurostar
train, which stopped nose to nose with the train that carried President Mitterrand from Paris. Following the ceremony President Mitterrand and the Queen travelled on to a similar ceremony in
Folkestone Folkestone ( ) is a port town on the English Channel, in Kent, south-east England. The town lies on the southern edge of the North Downs at a valley between two cliffs. It was an important harbour and shipping port for most of the 19th and 20th ...

Folkestone
. A full public service did not start for several months. The first freight train, however, ran on 1 June 1994 and carried Rover and Mini cars being exported to Italy. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), now called
High Speed 1 High Speed 1 (HS1), legally the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), is a high-speed railway linking London with the Channel Tunnel. The line carries international passenger traffic between the United Kingdom and mainland Europe; it also carries ...

High Speed 1
, runs from
St Pancras railway station St Pancras railway station (), also known as London St Pancras and officially since 2007 as St Pancras International, is a London station group, central London railway terminus on Euston Road in the London Borough of Camden. It is the terminus f ...

St Pancras railway station
in London to the tunnel portal at Folkestone in Kent. It cost £5.8 billion. On 16 September 2003 the prime minister,
Tony Blair Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. On his resignation he was appointed Special Envoy ...

Tony Blair
, opened the first section of High Speed 1, from Folkestone to north Kent. On 6 November 2007 the Queen officially opened High Speed 1 and St Pancras International station, replacing the original slower link to
Waterloo International railway station London Waterloo International station was the London terminus of the Eurostar ''Eurostar'' is an international high-speed rail High-speed rail (HSR) is a type of rail transport that runs significantly faster than traditional rail traf ...
. High Speed 1 trains travel at up to , the journey from London to Paris taking 2 hours 15 minutes, to Brussels 1 hour 51 minutes. In 1994, the
American Society of Civil Engineers The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt professional body founded in 1852 to represent members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, it is the oldest national engine ...
elected the tunnel as one of the seven modern
Wonders of the World File:Wonders of the world map.jpg, 270px, Various lists of the Wonders of the World have been compiled from antiquity to the present day, to catalogue the world's most spectacular natural wonders and human-built structures. The Seven Wonder ...
. In 1995, the American magazine '''' published the results.


Opening dates

Opening was phased for various services offered as the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority, the IGC, gave permission for various services to begin at several dates over the period 1994/1995 but start up dates were a few days later.


Engineering

Surveying undertaken in the 20 years before construction confirmed earlier speculations that a tunnel could be bored through a chalk
marl __NOTOC__ Marl or marlstone is a carbonate mineral, carbonate-rich mud or mudstone which contains variable amounts of Clay minerals, clays and silt. The term was originally loosely applied to a variety of materials, most of which occur as loose ...

marl
stratum. The chalk marl is conducive to tunnelling, with impermeability, ease of excavation and strength. The chalk marl runs along the entire length of the English side of the tunnel, but on the French side a length of has variable and difficult geology. The tunnel consists of three bores: two diameter rail tunnels, apart, in length with a diameter service tunnel in between. The three bores are connected by cross-passages and piston relief ducts. The service tunnel was used as a pilot tunnel, boring ahead of the main tunnels to determine the conditions. English access was provided at Shakespeare Cliff, French access from a shaft at Sangatte. The French side used five
tunnel boring machine A tunnel boring machine (TBM), also known as a "mole", is a machine used to excavate tunnels with a circular cross section through a variety of soil and rock strata. They may also be used for microtunneling. They can be designed to Boring (eart ...
s (TBMs), the English side six. The service tunnel uses Service Tunnel Transport System (STTS) and Light Service Tunnel Vehicles (LADOGS). Fire safety was a critical design issue. Between the portals at Beussingue and Castle Hill the tunnel is long, with under land on the French side and on the UK side, and under sea.Institute of Civil Engineers p. 95 It is the third-longest rail tunnel in the world, behind the
Gotthard Base Tunnel it, Galleria di base del San Gottardo rm, Tunnel da basa dal Son Gottardfrench: Tunnel de base du Saint-Gothard , image = 20141120 gotthard-basistunnel02-wikipedia-hannes-ortlieb.jpg , image_size = 250 , caption = Turnout at Faido multifunction st ...

Gotthard Base Tunnel
in Switzerland and the
Seikan Tunnel The Seikan Tunnel ( ja, 青函トンネル, or , ), is a dual gauge A dual gauge railway is a track that allows the passage of trains of two different track gauges. It is sometimes called a "mixed gauge" track. A dual gauge track consists of t ...
in Japan, but with the longest under-sea section. The average depth is below the seabed.Kirkland p. 13 On the UK side, of the expected of spoil approximately was used for fill at the terminal site, and the remainder was deposited at Lower Shakespeare Cliff behind a seawall,
reclaiming Linguistic reappropriation, reclamation, or resignification is the culture, cultural process by which a group reclaims words or artifacts that were previously used in a way disparaging of that group. It is a specific form of a semantic change (ch ...
of land.Institute of Civil Engineers p. 208 This land was then made into the
Samphire Hoe Country Park Samphire is a name given to a number of succulent salt-tolerant plants (halophytes) that tend to be associated with water bodies. *Rock samphire, ''Crithmum maritimum'' is a coastal species with white flowers that grows in the United Kingdom and ...
. Environmental impact assessment did not identify any major risks for the project, and further studies into safety, noise, and air pollution were overall positive. However, environmental objections were raised over a high-speed link to London.Flyvbjerg et al. p. 51


Geology

Successful tunnelling required a sound understanding of the topography and geology and the selection of the best rock strata through which to dig. The geology of this site generally consists of northeasterly dipping Cretaceous strata, part of the northern limb of the Wealden-Boulonnais dome. Characteristics include: * Continuous chalk on the cliffs on either side of the Channel containing no major faulting, as observed by Verstegan in 1605. * Four geological
strata (Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is ...
, marine sediments laid down 90–100 million years ago; pervious upper and middle chalk above slightly pervious lower chalk and finally impermeable
Gault Clay The Gault Formation is a geological formation A geological formation, or formation, is a body of rock having a consistent set of physical characteristics ( lithology) that distinguish it from adjacent bodies of rock, and which occupies a particul ...
. A sandy stratum, glauconitic marl (tortia), is in between the chalk marl and gault clay. * A layer of chalk marl (French: ''craie bleue'') in the lower third of the lower chalk appeared to present the best tunnelling medium. The chalk has a clay content of 30–40% providing impermeability to groundwater yet relatively easy excavation with strength allowing minimal support. Ideally the tunnel would be bored in the bottom of the chalk marl, allowing water inflow from fractures and joints to be minimised, but above the gault clay that would increase stress on the tunnel lining and swell and soften when wet. On the English side, the stratum is less than 5°; on the French side this increases to 20°. Jointing and faulting are present on both sides. On the English side, only minor faults of displacement less than exist; on the French side, displacements of up to are present owing to the Quenocs
fold Fold or folding may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media *Fold (album), ''Fold'' (album), the debut release by Australian rock band Epicure *Fold (poker), in the game of poker, to discard one's hand and forfeit interest in the current pot *Ab ...
. The faults are of limited width, filled with calcite, pyrite and remoulded clay. The increased dip and faulting restricted the selection of route on the French side. To avoid confusion, microfossil assemblages were used to classify the chalk marl. On the French side, particularly near the coast, the chalk was harder, more brittle and more fractured than on the English side. This led to the adoption of different tunnelling techniques on the two sides. The Quaternary undersea valley Fosse Dangaered, and Castle Hill landslip at the English portal, caused concerns. Identified by the 1964–65 geophysical survey, the Fosse Dangaered is an infilled valley system extending below the seabed, south of the tunnel route in mid-channel. A 1986 survey showed that a tributary crossed the path of the tunnel, and so the tunnel route was made as far north and deep as possible. The English terminal had to be located in the Castle Hill landslip, which consists of displaced and tipping blocks of lower chalk, glauconitic marl and gault debris. Thus the area was stabilised by buttressing and inserting drainage
adit Gated entrance of an abandoned adit near Medford, Oregon, United States An adit (from Latin ''aditus'', entrance) is an entrance to an underground mine which is horizontal or nearly horizontal, by which the mine can be entered, drained of water, ...
s. The service tunnel acted as a pilot preceding the main ones, so that the geology, areas of crushed rock, and zones of high water inflow could be predicted. Exploratory probing took place in the service tunnel, in the form of extensive forward probing, vertical downward probes and sideways probing.Kirkland pp. 21–50


Surveying

Marine soundings and samplings by Thomé de Gamond were carried out during 1833–67, establishing the seabed depth at a maximum of and the continuity of geological strata (layers). Surveying continued over many years, with 166 marine and 70 land-deep boreholes being drilled and over 4,000-line-kilometres of marine geophysical survey completed. Surveys were undertaken in 1958–1959, 1964–1965, 1972–1974 and 1986–1988. The surveying in 1958–59 catered for
immersed tube An immersed tube (or immersed tunnel) is a kind of undersea tunnel composed of segments, constructed elsewhere and floated to the tunnel site to be sunk into place and then linked together. They are commonly used for road and rail crossings of r ...
and bridge designs as well as a bored tunnel, and thus a wide area was investigated. At this time, marine geophysics surveying for engineering projects was in its infancy, with poor positioning and resolution from seismic profiling. The 1964–65 surveys concentrated on a northerly route that left the English coast at Dover harbour; using 70 boreholes, an area of deeply weathered rock with high permeability was located just south of Dover harbour. Given the previous survey results and access constraints, a more southerly route was investigated in the 1972–73 survey, and the route was confirmed to be feasible. Information for the tunnelling project also came from work before the 1975 cancellation. On the French side at Sangatte, a deep shaft with
adit Gated entrance of an abandoned adit near Medford, Oregon, United States An adit (from Latin ''aditus'', entrance) is an entrance to an underground mine which is horizontal or nearly horizontal, by which the mine can be entered, drained of water, ...
s was made. On the English side at Shakespeare Cliff, the government allowed of diameter tunnel to be driven. The actual tunnel alignment, method of excavation and support were essentially the same as the 1975 attempt. In the 1986–87 survey, previous findings were reinforced, and the characteristics of the gault clay and the tunnelling medium (chalk marl that made up 85% of the route) were investigated. Geophysical techniques from the oil industry were employed.Kirkland pp. 22–26


Tunnelling

Tunnelling was a major engineering challenge, with the only precedent being the undersea
Seikan Tunnel The Seikan Tunnel ( ja, 青函トンネル, or , ), is a dual gauge A dual gauge railway is a track that allows the passage of trains of two different track gauges. It is sometimes called a "mixed gauge" track. A dual gauge track consists of t ...
in Japan, which opened in 1988. A serious health and safety risk with building tunnels underwater is major water inflow due to the high
hydrostatic pressure Fluid statics or hydrostatics is the branch of fluid mechanics Fluid mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the mechanics Mechanics (Ancient Greek, Greek: ) is the area of physics concerned with the motions of physical object ...
from the sea above, under weak ground conditions. The tunnel also had the challenge of time: being privately funded, early financial return was paramount. The objective was to construct two rail tunnels, apart, in length; a service tunnel between the two main ones; pairs of cross-passages linking the rail tunnels to the service one at spacing; piston relief ducts in diameter connecting the rail tunnels apart; two undersea crossover caverns to connect the rail tunnels,Kirkland pp. 63–128 with the service tunnel always preceding the main ones by at least to ascertain the ground conditions. There was plenty of experience with excavating through chalk in the mining industry, while the undersea crossover caverns were a complex engineering problem. The French one was based on the Mount Baker Ridge freeway tunnel in
Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington. With a 2020 population of 737,015, it is the largest city in bot ...

Seattle
; the UK cavern was dug from the service tunnel ahead of the main ones, to avoid delay. Precast segmental linings in the main TBM drives were used, but two different solutions were used. On the French side, neoprene and grout sealed bolted linings made of cast iron or high-strength reinforced concrete were used; on the English side, the main requirement was for speed so bolting of cast-iron lining segments was only carried out in areas of poor geology. In the UK rail tunnels, eight lining segments plus a key segment were used; in the French side, five segments plus a key.Wilson p. 38 On the French side, a diameter deep grout-curtained shaft at Sangatte was used for access. On the English side, a marshalling area was below the top of Shakespeare Cliff, the
New Austrian Tunnelling method The New Austrian tunneling method (NATM), also known as the sequential excavation method (SEM) or sprayed concrete lining method (SCL), is a method of modern tunnel A tunnel is an underground passageway, dug through the surrounding soil/e ...
(NATM) was first applied in the chalk marl here. On the English side, the land tunnels were driven from Shakespeare Cliff—same place as the marine tunnels—not from Folkestone. The platform at the base of the cliff was not large enough for all of the drives and, despite environmental objections, tunnel spoil was placed behind a reinforced concrete seawall, on condition of placing the chalk in an enclosed lagoon, to avoid wide dispersal of chalk fines. Owing to limited space, the precast lining factory was on the
Isle of Grain Isle of Grain (Old English ''Greon'' meaning gravel) is a village and the easternmost point of the Hoo Peninsula within the unitary authority, district of Medway in Kent. No longer an island and now forming part of the peninsula, the area is al ...
in the Thames estuary, which used Scottish granite aggregate delivered by ship from the
Foster Yeoman Foster Yeoman Limited, based near Frome, Somerset, England, was one of Europe's largest independent quarrying and asphalt companies. It was sold to Aggregate Industries in 2006. History The company was founded by Foster Yeoman, from Hartlepool, ...
coastal super quarry at
Glensanda Glensanda (Old Norse, the glen of the sandy river) was a Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr were the seafaring Norse people from southern Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden) * * * * * * * * * * * * * ...
in
Loch Linnhe Loch Linnhe () is a sea loch Loch () is the Irish, Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-Europ ...

Loch Linnhe
on the west coast of Scotland. On the French side, owing to the greater permeability to water, earth pressure balance TBMs with open and closed modes were used. The TBMs were of a closed nature during the initial , but then operated as open, boring through the chalk marl stratum. This minimised the impact to the ground, allowed high water pressures to be withstood and it also alleviated the need to grout ahead of the tunnel. The French effort required five TBMs: two main marine machines, one main land machine (the short land drives of allowed one TBM to complete the first drive then reverse direction and complete the other), and two service tunnel machines. On the English side, the simpler geology allowed faster open-faced TBMs.Kirkland p. 29 Six machines were used; all commenced digging from Shakespeare Cliff, three marine-bound and three for the land tunnels. Towards the completion of the undersea drives, the UK TBMs were driven steeply downwards and buried clear of the tunnel. These buried TBMs were then used to provide an electrical earth. The French TBMs then completed the tunnel and were dismantled.Wilson p. 44 A gauge railway was used on the English side during construction.Kirkland pp. 117–128 In contrast to the English machines, which were given technical names, the French tunnelling machines were all named after women: Brigitte, Europa, Catherine, Virginie, Pascaline, Séverine. At the end of the tunnelling, one machine was on display at the side of the M20 motorway in
Folkestone Folkestone ( ) is a port town on the English Channel, in Kent, south-east England. The town lies on the southern edge of the North Downs at a valley between two cliffs. It was an important harbour and shipping port for most of the 19th and 20th ...

Folkestone
until
Eurotunnel Getlink, formerly Groupe Eurotunnel, is a European public company based in Paris that manages and operates the infrastructure of the Channel Tunnel between England and France, operates the Eurotunnel Shuttle train service, and earns revenue on ...
sold it on eBay for £39,999 to a scrap metal merchant. Another machine (T4 "Virginie") still survives on the French side, adjacent to Junction 41 on the A16, in the middle of the D243E3/D243E4 roundabout. On it are the words "hommage aux bâtisseurs du tunnel", meaning "tribute to the builders of the tunnel".


Tunnel boring machines

The eleven tunnel boring machines were designed and manufactured through a joint venture between the Robbins Company of
Kent, Washington Kent is a city located in King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washington, United States. Kent is in the heart of the Seattle metropolitan area, Seattle–Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area. With a population of 132,319 as of 2 ...
, United States; Markham & Co. of Chesterfield; and
Kawasaki Heavy Industries (or simply Kawasaki) is a Japanese Public company, public multinational corporation manufacturer of motorcycles, engines, Heavy equipment (construction), heavy equipment, aerospace and Military, defense equipment, rolling stock and ships, headq ...
of Japan.


Railway design


Loading gauge

The loading gauge height is .


Communications

There are three communication systems: concession radio (CR) for mobile vehicles and personnel within Eurotunnel's Concession (terminals, tunnels, coastal shafts); track-to-train radio (TTR) for secure speech and data between trains and the railway control centre; Shuttle internal radio (SIR) for communication between shuttle crew and to passengers over car radios.Kirkland pp. 129–132 This service was discontinued within one year of opening because of drivers' difficulty setting their radios to the correct frequency (88.8 MHz).


Power supply

Power is delivered to the locomotives via an
overhead line An overhead line or overhead wire is an electrical cable that is used to transmit electrical energy to electric locomotives, trolleybuses or trams. It is known variously as: * Overhead catenary * Overhead contact system (OCS) * Overhead equipment ...
(catenary)Kirkland pp. 134–148 at .Article: Railway electric traction 9 August 2009 with a normal overhead clearance of . All tunnel services run on electricity, shared equally from English and French sources. There are two sub-stations fed at 400 kV at each terminal, but in an emergency the tunnel's lighting (about 20,000 light fittings) and plant can be powered solely from either England or France. The traditional railway south of London uses a 750 V DC
third rail Shoe of NYC Subway car making contact with third rail. In the foreground is the third rail for the adjacent track. A third rail, also known as a live rail, electric rail or conductor rail, is a method of providing electric power to a railwa ...
to deliver electricity, but since the opening of
High Speed 1 High Speed 1 (HS1), legally the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), is a high-speed railway linking London with the Channel Tunnel. The line carries international passenger traffic between the United Kingdom and mainland Europe; it also carries ...

High Speed 1
there is no longer any need for tunnel trains to use the third rail system. High Speed 1, the tunnel and the
LGV Nord The Ligne à Grand Vitesse Nord (North High-Speed Line), typically shortened to LGV Nord, is a France, French -long high-speed rail line, opened in 1993, that connects Paris to the Belgium–France border, Belgian border and the Channel Tunnel via ...

LGV Nord
all have power provided via overhead catenary at 25 kV 50 Hz. The railways on "classic" lines in Belgium are also electrified by overhead wires, but at 3000 V DC.


Signalling

A cab signalling system gives information directly to train drivers on a display. There is a
train protection system A train protection system is a railway technical installation to ensure safe operation in the event of human error. Development Train stops The earliest systems were train stops, as still used by the New York City Subway The New York City ...
that stops the train if the speed exceeds that indicated on the in-cab display. TVM430, as used on
LGV Nord The Ligne à Grand Vitesse Nord (North High-Speed Line), typically shortened to LGV Nord, is a France, French -long high-speed rail line, opened in 1993, that connects Paris to the Belgium–France border, Belgian border and the Channel Tunnel via ...

LGV Nord
and
High Speed 1 High Speed 1 (HS1), legally the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), is a high-speed railway linking London with the Channel Tunnel. The line carries international passenger traffic between the United Kingdom and mainland Europe; it also carries ...

High Speed 1
, is used in the tunnel.Kirkland pp. 149–155 The TVM signalling is interconnected with the signalling on the high-speed lines either side, allowing trains to enter and exit the tunnel system without stopping. The maximum speed is .Article-de: Eurotunnel#Betrieb 9 August 2009 Signalling in the tunnel is coordinated from two control centres: The main control centre at the Folkestone terminal, and a backup at the Calais terminal, which is staffed at all times and can take over all operations in the event of a breakdown or emergency.


Track system

Conventional ballasted tunnel-track was ruled out owing to the difficulty of maintenance and lack of stability and precision. The Sonneville International Corporation's track system was chosen based on reliability and cost-effectiveness based on good performance in Swiss tunnels and worldwide. The type of track used is known as Low Vibration Track (LVT). Like ballasted track the LVT is of the free floating type, held in place by gravity and friction. Reinforced concrete blocks of 100 kg support the rails every 60 cm and are held by 12 mm thick closed cell polymer foam pads placed at the bottom of rubber boots. The latter separate the blocks' mass movements from the lean encasement concrete. Ballastless track provides extra overhead clearance necessary for the passage of larger trains.Bonnett 2005, p. 78 The corrugated rubber walls of the boots add a degree of isolation of horizontal wheel-rail vibrations, and are insulators of the track signal circuit in the humid tunnel environment. UIC60 (60 kg/m) rails of 900A grade rest on rail pads, which fit the RN/Sonneville bolted dual leaf-springs. The rails, LVT-blocks and their boots with pads were assembled outside the tunnel, in a fully automated process developed by the LVT inventor, Mr. Roger Sonneville. About 334,000 Sonneville blocks were made on the Sangatte site. Maintenance activities are less than projected. Initially the rails were ground on a yearly basis or after approximately 100MGT of traffic. Ride quality continues to be noticeably smooth and of low noise. Maintenance is facilitated by the existence of two tunnel junctions or crossover facilities, allowing for two-way operation in each of the six tunnel segments thereby created, and thus providing safe access for maintenance of one isolated tunnel segment at a time. The two crossovers are the largest artificial undersea caverns ever built; 150 m long, 10 m high and 18 m wide. The English crossover is from Shakespeare Cliff, and the French crossover is from Sangatte.


Ventilation, cooling and drainage

The ventilation system maintains the air pressure in the service tunnel higher than in the rail tunnels, so that in the event of a fire, smoke does not enter the service tunnel from the rail tunnels. Two cooling water pipes in each rail tunnel circulate chilled water to remove heat generated by the rail traffic. Pumping stations remove water in the tunnels from rain, seepage, and so on. During the design stage of the tunnel, engineers found that its aerodynamic properties and the heat generated by high-speed trains as they passed through it would raise the temperature inside the tunnel to . As well as making the trains "unbearably warm" for passengers this also presented a risk of equipment failure and track distortion. To cool the tunnel to below , engineers installed of diameter cooling pipes carrying of water. The network—Europe's largest cooling system—was supplied by eight York Titan chillers running on R22, a
Hydrochlorofluorocarbon Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are fully or partly halogenated paraffin hydrocarbons that contain only carbon Carbon (from la, carbo "coal") is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-bloc ...
(HCFC) refrigerant gas. Due to R22's
ozone depletion potential The ozone depletion potential (ODP) of a chemical compound is the relative amount of degradation to the ozone layer it can cause, with trichlorofluoromethane (R-11 or CFC-11) being fixed at an ODP of 1.0. Chlorodifluoromethane (R-22), for example, ...
(ODP) and high
global warming potential Global warming potential (GWP) is the heat absorbed by any greenhouse gas A greenhouse gas (sometimes abbreviated GHG) is a gas that Absorption (electromagnetic radiation), absorbs and Emission (electromagnetic radiation), emits radiant energ ...

global warming potential
(GWP), its use is being phased out in developed countries, and since 1 January 2015 it has been illegal in Europe to use HCFCs to service air-conditioning equipment—broken equipment that used HCFCs must instead be replaced with equipment that does not use it. In 2016,
Trane Trane Technologies Inc. is a manufacturer of heating upHot water central heating unit, using wood as fuel A central heating system provides warmth to the number of spaces within a building and optionally also able to heat domestic hot water fro ...
was selected to provide replacement chillers for the tunnel's cooling network. The York chillers were decommissioned and four "next generation" Trane Series E CenTraVac large-capacity (2600 kW to 14,000 kW) chillers were installed—two located in
Sangatte Sangatte () is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais Departments of France, department on the northern coast of France on the English Channel. The name is of Flemish origin, meaning hole or gap in the sand. Engineering Sangatte is the location for the C ...

Sangatte
, France, and two at
Shakespeare Cliff Shakespeare Cliff Halt is a private halt station on the South Eastern Main Line. It is located to the western end of the dual bore Shakespeare Cliff tunnel on the South Eastern Main Line to Folkestone, England. It never appeared in any public ti ...
, UK. The energy-efficient chillers, using
Honeywell Honeywell International Inc. is an American publicly traded, multinational conglomerate headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina Charlotte () is the List of municipalities in North Carolina, most populous city in the U.S. state of North ...

Honeywell
's non-flammable, ultra-low GWP refrigerant, maintain temperatures at , and in their first year of operation generated savings of 4.8
GWh The kilowatt-hour ( SI symbol: kW⋅h or kW h; commonly written as kWh) is a unit Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT, a fictional military organization in the science fiction television series ''Doctor Who'' * Unit of action, ...
—approximately 33%, equating to €500,000 ($585,000)—for tunnel operator
Getlink Getlink, formerly Groupe Eurotunnel, is a European public company based in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated populatio ...
.


Rolling stock


Rolling stock used previously


Operators


Eurotunnel Shuttle

Initially 38 Le Shuttle locomotives were commissioned, with one at each end of a shuttle train. Car shuttle sets have two separate halves: single and double deck. Each half has two loading/unloading wagons and 12 carrier wagons. Eurotunnel's original order was for nine car shuttle sets.
Heavy goods vehicle A large goods vehicle (LGV), or heavy goods vehicle (HGV), in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its me ...
(HGV) shuttle sets also have two halves, with each half containing one loading wagon, one unloading wagon and 14 carrier wagons. There is a
club car Club Car is an American company that manufactures electric and gas-powered golf cars and UTVs for personal and commercial use. It is a business unit of the Ingersoll Rand corporation in its Industrial Technologies division. It is one of the la ...
behind the leading locomotive, where drivers must stay during the journey. Eurotunnel originally ordered six HGV shuttle sets.


Freight locomotives

Forty-six Class 92 locomotives for hauling freight trains and overnight passenger trains (the Nightstar project, which was abandoned) were commissioned, running on both overhead AC and
third-rail Shoe of NYC Subway car making contact with third rail. In the foreground is the third rail for the adjacent track. A third rail, also known as a live rail, electric rail or conductor rail, is a method of providing electric power Electric ...
DC power. However, RFF does not let these run on French railways, so there are plans to certify Alstom Prima II locomotives for use in the tunnel.


International passenger

Thirty-one
Eurostar Eurostar is an international high-speed rail service connecting the United Kingdom with France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Most Eurostar trains travel through the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France, owned and operated sepa ...

Eurostar
trains, based on the Train à Grande Vitesse, French TGV, built to UK loading gauge with many modifications for safety within the tunnel, were commissioned, with ownership split between British Rail, SNCF, French national railways (SNCF) and National Railway Company of Belgium, Belgian national railways (SNCB).
British Rail British Railways (BR), which from 1965 traded as British Rail, was the state-owned company that operated most of the overground rail transport in Great Britain The railway system in Great Britain is the oldest railway system in the world. T ...
ordered seven more for services north of London.Kirkland pp. 175–211 Around 2010, Eurostar ordered ten trains from Siemens based on its Siemens Velaro, Velaro product. The British Rail Class 374, Class 374 entered service in 2016 and have been operating through the Channel Tunnel ever since alongside the current British Rail Class 373, Class 373. Germany (DB) has since around 2005 tried to get permission to run train services to London. At the end of 2009, extensive fire-proofing requirements were dropped and DB received permission to run German Intercity-Express (ICE) test trains through the tunnel. In June 2013 DB was granted access to the tunnel, but these plans were ultimately dropped. In October 2021, Renfe, the Spanish state railway company, expressed interest in operating a cross-Channel route between Paris and London using some of their existing trains with the intention of competing with Eurostar. No details have been revealed as to which trains would be used.


Service locomotives

Diesel locomotives for rescue and shunting work are Eurotunnel Class 0001 and Eurotunnel Class 0031.


Operation

The following chart presents the estimated number of passengers and tonnes of freight, respectively, annually transported through the Channel Tunnel since 1994, in millions:


Usage and services

File:Folkestone White Horse cropped.jpg, The 2003 Folkestone White Horse viewed at Cheriton terminal Transport services offered by the tunnel are as follows: * Eurotunnel Shuttle, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle roll-on roll-off shuttle service for road vehicles and their drivers and passengers, *
Eurostar Eurostar is an international high-speed rail service connecting the United Kingdom with France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Most Eurostar trains travel through the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France, owned and operated sepa ...

Eurostar
passenger trains, * through freight trains. Both the freight and passenger traffic forecasts that led to the construction of the tunnel were overestimated; in particular, Eurotunnel's commissioned forecasts were over-predictions. Although the captured share of Channel crossings was forecast correctly, high competition (especially from budget airlines which expanded rapidly in the 1990s and 2000s) and reduced tariffs led to low revenue. Overall cross-Channel traffic was overestimated. With the European Union, EU's liberalisation of international rail services, the tunnel and
High Speed 1 High Speed 1 (HS1), legally the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), is a high-speed railway linking London with the Channel Tunnel. The line carries international passenger traffic between the United Kingdom and mainland Europe; it also carries ...

High Speed 1
have been open to competition since 2010. There have been a number of High Speed 1#Future operations, operators interested in running trains through the tunnel and along High Speed 1 to London. In June 2013, after several years, Deutsche Bahn, DB obtained a licence to operate Frankfurt – London trains, not expected to run before 2016 because of delivery delays of the custom-made trains. Plans for the service to Frankfurt seem to have been shelved in 2018.


Passenger traffic volumes

Cross-tunnel passenger traffic volumes peaked at 18.4 million in 1998, dropped to 14.9 million in 2003 and has increased substantially since then. At the time of the decision about building the tunnel, 15.9 million passengers were predicted for Eurostar trains in the opening year. In 1995, the first full year, actual numbers were a little over 2.9 million, growing to 7.1 million in 2000, then dropping to 6.3 million in 2003. Eurostar was initially limited by the lack of a high-speed connection on the British side. After the completion of High Speed 1 in two stages in 2003 and 2007, traffic increased. In 2008, Eurostar carried 9,113,371 passengers, a 10% increase over the previous year, despite traffic limitations due to the 2008 Channel Tunnel fire. Eurostar passenger numbers continued to increase.


Freight traffic volumes

Freight volumes have been erratic, with a major decrease during 1997 due to a closure caused by a fire in a freight shuttle. Freight crossings increased over the period, indicating the substitutability of the tunnel by sea crossings. The tunnel has achieved a market share close to or above Eurotunnel's 1980s predictions but Eurotunnel's 1990 and 1994 predictions were overestimates. For through freight trains, the first year prediction was 7.2 million tonnes; the actual 1995 figure was 1.3M tonnes.Flyvbjerg et al. p. 22 Through freight volumes peaked in 1998 at 3.1M tonnes. This fell back to 1.21M tonnes in 2007, increasing slightly to 1.24M tonnes in 2008. Together with that carried on freight shuttles, freight growth has occurred since opening, with 6.4M tonnes carried in 1995, 18.4M tonnes recorded in 2003 and 19.6M tonnes in 2007. Numbers fell back in the wake of the 2008 fire. Eurotunnel's freight subsidiary is Europorte 2. In September 2006 EWS, the UK's largest rail freight operator, announced that owing to cessation of UK-French government subsidies of £52 million per annum to cover the tunnel "Minimum User Charge" (a subsidy of around £13,000 per train, at a traffic level of 4,000 trains per annum), freight trains would stop running after 30 November.


Economic performance

Shares in Eurotunnel were issued at £3.50 per share on 9 December 1987. By mid-1989 the price had risen to £11.00. Delays and cost overruns led to the price dropping; during demonstration runs in October 1994 it reached an all-time low. Eurotunnel suspended payment on its debt in September 1995 to avoid bankruptcy. In December 1997 the British and French governments extended Eurotunnel's operating concession by 34 years, to 2086. Financial restructuring of Eurotunnel occurred in mid-1998, reducing debt and financial charges. Despite the restructuring, ''The Economist'' reported in 1998 that to break even Eurotunnel would have to increase fares, traffic and market share for sustainability.Flyvbjerg et al. pp. 32–34 A cost benefit analysis of the tunnel indicated that there were few impacts on the wider economy and few developments associated with the project, and that the British economy would have been better off if it had not been constructed. Under the terms of the Concession, Eurotunnel was obliged to investigate a cross-Channel road tunnel. In December 1999 road and rail tunnel proposals were presented to the British and French governments, but it was stressed that there was not enough demand for a second tunnel. A three-way treaty between the United Kingdom, France and Belgium governs border controls, with the establishment of ''control zones'' wherein the officers of the other nation may exercise limited customs and law enforcement powers. For most purposes these are at either end of the tunnel, with the French border controls on the UK side of the tunnel and vice versa. For some city-to-city trains, the train is a control zone. A binational emergency plan coordinates UK and French emergency activities.Kirkland p. 331 In 1999 Eurostar posted its first net profit, having made a loss of £925m in 1995. In 2005 Eurotunnel was described as being in a serious situation. In 2013, operating profits rose 4 percent from 2012, to £54 million.


Security

There is a need for full passport controls, since this is the border between the Schengen Area and the Common Travel Area. There are juxtaposed controls, meaning that passports are checked before boarding first by officials belonging to departing country and then officials of the destination country. These are placed only at the main Eurostar stations: French officials operate at St Pancras railway station, London St Pancras, Ebbsfleet International railway station, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International railway station, Ashford International, while British officials operate at Gare de Calais-Fréthun, Calais-Fréthun, Lille-Europe, Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy station, Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy, Brussels-South railway station, Brussels-South and Gare du Nord, Paris-Gare du Nord. There are security checks before boarding as well. For the shuttle road-vehicle trains, there are juxtaposed passport controls before boarding the trains. For Eurostar trains travelling from places south of Paris, there is no passport and security check before departure, and those trains must stop in Lille at least 30 minutes to allow all passengers to be checked. No checks are done on board. There have been plans for services from Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Cologne to London, but a major reason to cancel them was the need for a stop in Lille. A direct service from London to Amsterdam started on 4 April 2018; following the building of check-in terminals at Amsterdam and Rotterdam and intergovernmental agreement, a direct service from the two Dutch cities to London will start on 30 April 2020. The reason for juxtaposed controls is a wish to prevent illegal immigration before reaching British soil, and because a check of all passengers on a train can take 30 minutes, which creates long queues if done at arrival.


Terminals

The terminals' sites are at Cheriton (near Folkestone in the United Kingdom) and
Coquelles Coquelles ( vls, Kalkwelle, lang) is a commune A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstr ...
(near Calais in France). The UK site uses the M20 motorway for access. The terminals are organised with the frontier controls juxtaposed with the entry to the system to allow travellers to go onto the motorway at the destination country immediately after leaving the shuttle. To achieve design output at the French terminal, the shuttles accept cars on double-deck wagons; for flexibility, ramps were placed inside the shuttles to provide access to the top decks.Kirkland pp. 255–270 At Folkestone there are of main-line track, 45 turnouts and eight platforms. At Calais there are of track and 44 turnouts. At the terminals the shuttle trains traverse a figure eight to reduce uneven wear on the wheels.Kirkland pp. 157–174 There is a freight marshalling yard west of Cheriton at Dollands Moor Freight Yard.


Regional impact

A 1996 report from the European Commission predicted that
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived ...

Kent
and Nord-Pas de Calais had to face increased traffic volumes due to general growth of cross-Channel traffic and traffic attracted by the tunnel. In Kent, a high-speed rail line to London would transfer traffic from road to rail.European Commission pp. 220–222 Kent's regional development would benefit from the tunnel, but being so close to London restricts the benefits. Gains are in the traditional industries and are largely dependent on the development of Ashford International railway station, without which Kent would be totally dependent on London's expansion. Nord-Pas-de-Calais enjoys a strong internal symbolic effect of the Tunnel which results in significant gains in manufacturing.European Commission pp. 248–252 The removal of a bottleneck by means like the tunnel does not necessarily induce economic gains in all adjacent regions. The image of a region being connected to the European high-speed transport and active political response are more important for regional economic development. Some small-medium enterprises located in the immediate vicinity of the terminal have used the opportunity to re-brand the profile of their business with positive effect, such as ''The New Inn'' at Etchinghill, Kent, Etchinghill which was able to commercially exploit its unique selling point as being 'the closest pub to the Channel Tunnel'. Tunnel-induced regional development is small compared to general economic growth. The South East of England is likely to benefit developmentally and socially from faster and cheaper transport to continental Europe, but the benefits are unlikely to be equally distributed throughout the region. The overall environmental impact is almost certainly negative. Since the opening of the tunnel, small positive impacts on the wider economy have been felt, but it is difficult to identify major economic successes directly attributed to the tunnel.Flyvbjerg et al. p. 68–69 The Eurotunnel does operate profitably, offering an alternative transportation mode unaffected by poor weather. High costs of construction did delay profitability, however, and companies involved in the tunnel's construction and operation early in operation relied on government aid to deal with debts amounted.


Illegal immigration

Illegal immigration, Illegal immigrants and would-be asylum seekers have used the tunnel to attempt to enter Britain. By 1997, the problem had attracted international press attention, and by 1999, the French Red Cross opened the first migrant centre at
Sangatte Sangatte () is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais Departments of France, department on the northern coast of France on the English Channel. The name is of Flemish origin, meaning hole or gap in the sand. Engineering Sangatte is the location for the C ...

Sangatte
, using a warehouse once used for tunnel construction; by 2002, it housed up to 1,500 people at a time, most of them trying to get to the UK. In 2001, most came from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran, but African countries were also represented. Eurotunnel, the company that operates the crossing, said that more than 37,000 migrants were intercepted between January and July 2015. Approximately 3,000 migrants, mainly from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Afghanistan, were living in the temporary camps erected in Calais at the time of an official count in July 2015. An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 migrants were waiting in Calais for a chance to get to England. Britain and France operate a system of juxtaposed controls on immigration and customs, where investigations happen before travel. France is part of the Schengen Agreement, Schengen immigration zone, removing border checks in normal times between most EU member states; Britain and the Republic of Ireland form their own separate Common Travel Area immigration zone. Most illegal immigrants and would-be asylum seekers who got into Britain found some way to ride a freight train. Trucks are loaded onto freight trains. In a few instances, migrants stowaway, stowed away in a liquid chocolate tanker and managed to survive, spread across several attempts. Although the facilities were fenced, airtight security was deemed impossible; migrants would even jump from bridges onto moving trains. In several incidents people were injured during the crossing; others tampered with railway equipment, causing delays and requiring repairs. Eurotunnel said it was losing £5m per month because of the problem. In 2001 and 2002, several riots broke out at Sangatte, and groups of migrants (up to 550 in a December 2001 incident) stormed the fences and attempted to enter ''en masse''. Other migrants seeking permanent UK settlement use the
Eurostar Eurostar is an international high-speed rail service connecting the United Kingdom with France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Most Eurostar trains travel through the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France, owned and operated sepa ...

Eurostar
passenger train. They may purport to be visitors (whether to be issued with a required visit visa or deny and falsify their true intentions to obtain a maximum of 6-months-in-a-year at-port stamp); purport to be someone else whose documents they hold or used forged or counterfeit passports. Such breaches will result in refusal of permission to enter the UK, effected by Border Force after such a person's identity is fully established assuming they persist in their application to enter the UK.


Diplomatic efforts

Local authorities in both France and the UK called for the closure of the Sangatte migrant camp, and
Eurotunnel Getlink, formerly Groupe Eurotunnel, is a European public company based in Paris that manages and operates the infrastructure of the Channel Tunnel between England and France, operates the Eurotunnel Shuttle train service, and earns revenue on ...
twice sought an injunction against the centre. As at 2006 the United Kingdom blamed France for allowing Sangatte to open, and France blamed both the UK for its then lax asylum rules/law, and the EU for not having a uniform immigration policy. The ''cause célèbre'' nature of the problem even included journalists detained as they followed migrants onto railway property. In 2002, after the European Commission told France that it was in breach of European Union rules on the free transfer of goods because of the delays and closures as a result of its poor security, a double fence was built at a cost of £5 million, reducing the numbers of migrants detected each week reaching Britain on goods trains from 250 to almost none. Other measures included Closed-circuit television, CCTV cameras and increased police patrols. At the end of 2002, the Sangatte centre was closed after the UK agreed to absorb some migrants. On 23 and 30 June 2015, striking workers associated with MyFerryLink damaged the sections of track by burning car tires, leading to all trains being cancelled and a backlog of vehicles. Hundreds seeking to reach Britain made use of the situation to attempt to stow away inside and underneath transport trucks destined for the United Kingdom. Extra security measures included a £2 million upgrade of detection technology, £1 million extra for dog searches, and £12 million (over three years) towards a joint fund with France for security surrounding the Port of Calais.


Illegal attempts to cross and deaths

In 2002, a dozen migrants died in crossing attempts. In the two months from June to July 2015, ten migrants died near the French tunnel terminal, during a period when 1,500 attempts to evade security precautions were being made each day. On 6 July 2015, a migrant died while attempting to climb onto a freight train while trying to reach Britain from the French side of the Channel. The previous month an Eritrean man was killed under similar circumstances. During the night of 28 July 2015, one person, aged 25–30, was found dead after a night in which 1,500–2,000 migrants had attempted to enter the Eurotunnel terminal. On 4 August 2015, a Sudanese migrant walked nearly the entire length of one of the tunnels. He was arrested close to the British side, after having walked about through the tunnel.


Mechanical incidents


Fires

There have been three fires in the tunnel, all on the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) shuttles, that were significant enough to close the tunnel, as well as other more minor incidents. On 9 December 1994, during an "invitation only" testing phase, a fire broke out in a Ford Escort (Europe), Ford Escort car while its owner was loading it onto the upper deck of a tourist shuttle. The fire started at about 10:00, with the shuttle train stationary in the Folkestone terminal and was put out about 40 minutes later with no passenger injuries. On 18 November 1996, a fire broke out on an HGV shuttle wagon in the tunnel, but nobody was seriously hurt. The exact cause is unknown, although it was neither a Eurotunnel equipment nor rolling stock problem; it may have been due to arson of a heavy goods vehicle. It is estimated that the heart of the fire reached , with the tunnel severely damaged over , with some affected to some extent. Full operation recommenced six months after the fire. On 21 August 2006, the tunnel was closed for several hours when a truck on an HGV shuttle train caught fire. On 11 September 2008, a fire occurred in the Channel Tunnel at 13:57 GMT. The incident started on an HGV shuttle train travelling towards France. The event occurred from the French entrance to the tunnel. No one was killed but several people were taken to hospitals suffering from smoke inhalation, and minor cuts and bruises. The tunnel was closed to all traffic, with the undamaged South Tunnel reopening for limited services two days later. Full service resumed on 9 February 2009 after repairs costing €60 million. On 29 November 2012, the tunnel was closed for several hours after a truck on an HGV shuttle caught fire. On 17 January 2015, both tunnels were closed following a lorry fire which filled the midsection of Running Tunnel North with smoke. Eurostar cancelled all services. The shuttle train had been heading from Folkestone to Coquelles and stopped adjacent to cross-passage CP 4418 just before 12:30 UTC. Thirty-eight passengers and four members of Eurotunnel staff were evacuated into the service tunnel, and then transported to France using special STTS road vehicles in the Service Tunnel. The passengers and crew were taken to the Eurotunnel Fire/Emergency Management Centre close to the French portal.


Train failures

On the night of 19/20 February 1996, about 1,000 passengers became trapped in the Channel Tunnel when
Eurostar Eurostar is an international high-speed rail service connecting the United Kingdom with France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Most Eurostar trains travel through the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France, owned and operated sepa ...

Eurostar
British Rail Class 373, trains from London broke down owing to failures of electronic circuits caused by snow and ice being deposited and then melting on the circuit boards. On 3 August 2007, an electrical failure lasting six hours caused passengers to be trapped in the tunnel on a shuttle. On the evening of 18 December 2009, during the December 2009 European snowfall, five London-bound
Eurostar Eurostar is an international high-speed rail service connecting the United Kingdom with France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Most Eurostar trains travel through the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France, owned and operated sepa ...

Eurostar
trains failed inside the tunnel, trapping 2,000 passengers for approximately 16 hours, during the coldest temperatures in eight years. A Eurotunnel spokesperson explained that snow had evaded the train's winterisation shields, and the transition from cold air outside to the tunnel's warm atmosphere had melted the snow, resulting in electrical failures. One train was turned back before reaching the tunnel; two trains were hauled out of the tunnel by Eurotunnel Class 0001 diesel locomotives. The blocking of the tunnel led to the implementation of Operation Stack, the transformation of the M20 motorway into a linear car park. The occasion was the first time that a Eurostar train was evacuated inside the tunnel; the failing of four at once was described as "unprecedented". The Channel Tunnel reopened the following morning. Nirj Deva, Member of the European Parliament for South East England, had called for Eurostar chief executive Richard Brown to resign over the incidents. An independent report by Christopher Garnett (former CEO of Great North Eastern Railway) and Claude Gressier (a French transport expert) on the 18/19 December 2009 incidents was issued in February 2010, making 21 recommendations. On 7 January 2010, a Brussels–London Eurostar broke down in the tunnel. The train had 236 passengers on board and was towed to Ashford; other trains that had not yet reached the tunnel were turned back.


Safety

The
Channel Tunnel Safety Authority The Channel Tunnel Safety Authority is an international regulatory body responsible for safety in the Channel Tunnel The Channel Tunnel (french: link=no, Le tunnel sous la Manche), also referred to as the Eurotunnel or Chunnel, is a railway ...
is responsible for some aspects of safety regulation in the tunnel; it reports to the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC). The service tunnel is used for access to technical equipment in cross-passages and equipment rooms, to provide fresh-air ventilation and for emergency evacuation. The Service Tunnel Transport System (STTS) allows fast access to all areas of the tunnel. The service vehicles are rubber-tyred with a buried wire guidance system. The 24 STTS vehicles are used mainly for maintenance but also for firefighting and in emergencies. "Pods" with different purposes, up to a payload of , are inserted into the side of the vehicles. The vehicles cannot turn around within the tunnel, and are driven from either end. The maximum speed is when the steering is locked. A fleet of 15 Light Service Tunnel Vehicles (LADOGS) was introduced to supplement the STTSs. The LADOGS have a short wheelbase with a turning circle, allowing two-point turns within the service tunnel. Steering cannot be locked like the STTS vehicles, and maximum speed is . Pods up to can be loaded onto the rear of the vehicles. Drivers in the tunnel sit on the right, and the vehicles drive on the left. Owing to the risk of French personnel driving on their native right side of the road, sensors in the vehicles alert the driver if the vehicle strays to the right side.Kirkland pp. 247–254 The three tunnels contain of air that needs to be conditioned for comfort and safety. Air is supplied from ventilation (architecture), ventilation buildings at Shakespeare Cliff and Sangatte, with each building capable of providing 100% standby capacity. Supplementary ventilation also exists on either side of the tunnel. In the event of a fire, ventilation is used to keep smoke out of the service tunnel and move smoke in one direction in the main tunnel to give passengers clean air. The tunnel was the first main-line railway tunnel to have special cooling equipment. Heat is generated from traction equipment and drag. The design limit was set at , using a mechanical cooling system with refrigeration plants on both sides that run chilled water circulating in pipes within the tunnel. Trains travelling at high speed create piston effect pressure changes that can affect passenger comfort, ventilation systems, tunnel doors, fans and the structure of the trains, and which drag on the trains.Kirkland pp. 212–230 Piston relief Duct (HVAC), ducts of diameter were chosen to solve the problem, with 4 ducts per kilometre to give close to optimum results. Unfortunately this design led to unacceptable lateral forces on the trains so a reduction in train speed was required and restrictors were installed in the ducts.The Channel Tunnel Experience Lessons for the Future pp. 19–23 The safety issue of a possible fire on a passenger-vehicle shuttle garnered much attention, with Eurotunnel noting that fire was the risk attracting the most attention in a 1994 safety case for three reasons: the opposition of ferry companies to passengers being allowed to remain with their cars; Home Office statistics indicating that car fires had doubled in ten years; and the long length of the tunnel. Eurotunnel commissioned the UK Fire Research Station—now part of the Building Research Establishment—to give reports of vehicle fires, and liaised with Kent Fire Brigade to gather vehicle fire statistics over one year. Fire tests took place at the French Mines Research Establishment with a mock wagon used to investigate how cars burned.Kirkland pp. 231–240 The wagon door systems are designed to withstand fire inside the wagon for 30 minutes, longer than the transit time of 27 minutes. Wagon air conditioning units help to purge dangerous fumes from inside the wagon before travel. Each wagon has a fire detection and extinguishing system, with sensing of ions or ultraviolet radiation, smoke and gases that can trigger Haloalkane, halon gas to quench a fire. Since the HGV wagons are not covered, fire sensors are located on the loading wagon and in the tunnel. A water main in the service tunnel provides water to the main tunnels at intervals. The ventilation system can control smoke movement. Special arrival sidings accept a train that is on fire, as the train is not allowed to stop whilst on fire in the tunnel, unless continuing its journey would lead to a worse outcome. Eurotunnel has banned a wide range of hazardous goods from travelling in the tunnel. Two STTS (Service Tunnel Transportation System) vehicles with firefighting pods are on duty at all times, with a maximum delay of 10 minutes before they reach a burning train.


Unusual traffic


Trains

In 1999, the ''Kosovo Train for Life'' passed through the tunnel en route to Pristina, in Kosovo.


Other

In 2009, former F1 racing champion John Surtees drove a Ginetta G50 EV electric sports car prototype from England to France, using the service tunnel, as part of a charity event. He was required to keep to the speed limit. To celebrate the 2014 Tour de France's transfer from its opening stages in Britain to France in July of that year, Chris Froome of Team Sky rode a bicycle through the service tunnel, becoming the first solo rider to do so. The crossing took under an hour, reaching speeds of —faster than most cross-channel ferries.


Mobile network coverage

Since 2012, French operators Bouygues Telecom, Orange S.A., Orange and SFR have covered Running Tunnel South, the tunnel bore normally used for travel from France to Britain. In January 2014, UK operators EE Limited, EE and Vodafone UK, Vodafone signed ten-year contracts with Eurotunnel for Running Tunnel North. The agreements will enable both operators' subscribers to use 2G and 3G services. Both EE and Vodafone planned to offer LTE (telecommunication), LTE services on the route; EE said it expected to cover the route with LTE connectivity by summer 2014. EE and Vodafone will offer Channel Tunnel network coverage for travellers from the UK to France. Eurotunnel said it also held talks with Three UK but has yet to reach an agreement with the operator. In May 2014, Eurotunnel announced that they had installed equipment from Alcatel-Lucent to cover Running Tunnel North and simultaneously to provide mobile service (GSM 900/1800 MHz and UMTS 2100 MHz) by EE, O2 and Vodafone. The service of EE and Vodafone commenced on the same date as the announcement. O2 service was expected to be available soon afterwards. In November 2014, EE announced that it had previously switched on LTE earlier in September 2014. O2 turned on 2G, 3G and 4G services in November 2014, whilst Vodafone's 4G was due to go live later.


Other (non-transport) services

The tunnel also houses the 1,000 MW ElecLink interconnector to transfer power between the British and French electricity networks. During the night 31 August/1 September 2021,''Channel Tunnel electricity link goes live''. Modern Railways, November 2021, p.80 the 51km-long 320 kV DC cable was switched into service for the first time.


See also

* France–UK border * British Rail Class 373 * Irish Sea tunnel * Japan–Korea Undersea Tunnel * List of transport megaprojects * Marmaray Tunnel * Samphire Hoe * Strait of Gibraltar crossing


References


Sources

* * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * * Article on a post-WW1 plan for a tunnel that was scrapped by the Great Depression. A total cost figure of 150 million was given in 1929 * Autobiography of Sir John Stokes regarding 1882 deliberations


External links


UK website
at eurotunnel.com
French website
at eurotunnel.com/fr
Tribute website
at chunnel.com * * :openstreetmap:Channel Tunnel, Channel Tunnel on OpenStreetMap wiki * * {{Authority control Channel Tunnel, Tunnels completed in 1994 Coastal construction Eurostar France–United Kingdom border crossings Railway tunnels in England Railway tunnels in France Rail transport in France Rail transport in England Transport in Kent Transport in Folkestone and Hythe Undersea tunnels in Europe International tunnels International railway lines Transport in Pas-de-Calais Standard gauge railways in England Standard gauge railways in France Railway lines opened in 1994 Buildings and structures in Pas-de-Calais 1994 establishments in France 1994 establishments in England 25 kV AC railway electrification English Channel Dual-tube railway tunnels