The Chunnel

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The Chunnel is actually the English nickname for The Channel Tunnel.It is a rail tunnel beneath the English Channel at the Straits of Dover. It connects Cheriton in Kent, England with Sangatte in northern France. It is the second longest rail tunnel in the world. It took 15,000 workers over seven years to dig the tunnel. The tunnel was finished in 1994. The completed Chunnel cost about $21 billion. There are three complete tunnels in the Chunnel. The two outside ones are the passenger trains. The small inner one is a guidance train. The guidance train is not used for transportation

Getting started Just getting started on the Channel Tunnel was a monumental task. Funds had to be raised (over 50 large banks gave loans), experienced engineers had to be found, 13,000 skilled and unskilled workers had to be hired and housed, and special tunnel boring machines had to be designed and built. Building channel tunnel

The digging of the Channel Tunnel began simultaneously from the British and the French coasts, with the finished tunnel meeting in the middle. The digging was done by huge tunnel boring machines, known as TBMs, which cut through the chalk, collected the debris, and transported the debris behind it using conveyor belts. Connecting the tunnel

One of the most difficult tasks on the Channel Tunnel project was making sure that both the British side of the tunnel and the French side actually met up in the middle. Special lasers and surveying equipment was used; however, with such a large project, no one was sure it would actually work. Since the service tunnel was the first to be dug, it was the joining of the two sides of this tunnel that caused the most fanfare. On December 1, 1990, the meeting of the two sides was officially celebrated.

Finishing the tunnel Both the British and the French kept digging. The two sides met in the northern running tunnel on May 22, 1991 and then only a month later, the two sides met in the middle of the southern running tunnel on June 28, 1991. The channel tunnel opens

On December 10, 1993, the first test run was completed through the entire Channel Tunnel. After additional fine tuning, the Channel Tunnel officially opened on May 6, 1994.

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