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The Channel Tunnel French: Le tunnel sous la Manche ; also nicknamed the Chunnel [2] [3] is a It is the only fixed link between the island of Great Britain and the European mainland. The tunnel carries high-speed Eurostar passenger trains, the Eurotunnel Shuttle for road vehicles—the largest such transport in the world [8] —and international goods trains.


In through rail services carried Ideas for a cross-Channel fixed link appeared as early as[12] [13] but British political and press pressure over the compromising of national security stalled attempts to construct a tunnel. Since its construction, the tunnel has faced a few mechanical problems.

Both fires and cold weather have temporarily disrupted its operation. People have attempted to use the tunnel to enter the UK illegally sincecreating the ongoing issue of the migrants around Calais on the French side, causing both diplomatic disagreement and violence. InAlbert 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.

AroundWilliam Low and Sir John Islensys promoted ideas, [30] but apart from preliminary geological studies [31] none were implemented. An official Anglo-French protocol was established in for a cross-Channel railway tunnel.

On the English side a 2. The project was abandoned in Mayowing to British political and press campaigns asserting that a tunnel would compromise Britain’s national defences. Induring the Paris Peace Conferencethe British prime minister, David Lloyd Georgerepeatedly brought up the idea of silendys Channel tunnel as a way of reassuring France about British willingness to defend against another German attack.

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The French did not take the idea seriously, and nothing came of Lloyd George’s proposal. There was another proposal inbut nothing came of this discussion and the idea was shelved. The engineers had addressed the concerns of both nations’ military leaders by designing two sumps —one near the coast of each country—that could be flooded at will to block the tunnel. This design feature did not override the concerns of both nations’ military leaders, and other concerns about dilensys of undesirable tourists who would group English habits of living.

After the fall of Franceas Britain prepared for an expected German invasiona Royal Navy officer in the Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development calculated that Hitler could use slave labour to build two Channel tunnels in 18 months. The estimate caused rumours that Germany had already begun digging.

A British film from Gaumont StudiosThe Tunnel also called TransAtlantic Tunnelwas released in 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 infive years into the future of the silrnsys release.

Bydefence arguments had become less relevant grohpe to the dominance of air power, and both the British and French governments supported technical and geological surveys.

Although the two countries agreed to build a tunnel inthe phase 1 initial studies and signing of a second agreement to sioensys phase 2 took until On 20 Januaryto the dismay of their French partners, the now-governing Labour Party in Britain cancelled the project due to uncertainty about EEC membership, doubling cost estimates and the general economic crisis at the time.

Inthe “Mouse-hole Project” was suggested when the Silenxys 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 Margaret Thatcherthe prime minister, said she had no objection to a privately funded project. In June the Franco-British study group favoured a twin tunnel to accommodate conventional trains and a vehicle shuttle service.


In April promoters were invited to submit scheme proposals.

Four submissions were shortlisted:. The cross-Channel ferry industry protested under the name “Flexilink”. In there was no campaign protesting against a fixed link, with one of the largest ferry operators Sealink being state-owned. Flexilink froupe rousing opposition throughout and The British Channel Tunnel Group consisted of two banks and five construction companies, while their French counterparts, France—Mancheconsisted of three banks and five construction companies.

The role of the banks was to advise on financing and secure loan commitments. The French terminal and boring from Sangatte was undertaken by the five Sioensys construction companies in the joint venture group GIE Transmanche Construction. In France, with its long tradition of infrastructure investment, the project garnered widespread approval. In April the French National Assembly gave unanimous support and, in Juneafter sildnsys public inquiry, the Senate gave unanimous support.

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In Britain, select committees examined the proposal, making history by holding hearings away from Westminster, in Kent. The tunnel is a build-own-operate-transfer BOOT project with a concession. The British and French governments gave Eurotunnel a year operating concession from ; extended by 10 years to 65 years in [40] to repay loans and pay dividends.

Private funding for such a complex infrastructure project was of unprecedented scale. Working from both the English side and the French side of the Channel, eleven tunnel boring machines or TBMs cut through chalk marl to construct two rail tunnels and a service tunnel.

The vehicle shuttle terminals are at Cheriton part of Folkestone and Coquelles, and are connected to the English M20 and French A16 motorways respectively. Tunnelling commenced inand the tunnel began operating in A two-inch mm diameter pilot hole allowed the service tunnel to break through without ceremony on 30 October The Queen travelled through the tunnel to Calais on a Eurostar train, which stopped nose to nose with the train that carried President Mitterrand from Paris.

The first freight train, however, ran on 1 June and carried Rover and Mini cars being exported to Italy. On 6 November the Queen officially opened High Speed 1 and St Pancras International station, [52] replacing the original slower link to Waterloo International railway station. Surveying undertaken in the 20 years before construction confirmed earlier speculations that a tunnel could be bored through a chalk marl stratum.

The chalk marl is conducive to tunnelling, with impermeability, ease of excavation and strength. The tunnel consists of three bores: 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. Fire safety was a critical design issue. Between the portals at Beussingue and Castle Hill the tunnel is 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. 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. Jointing and faulting are present on both sides. 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. A 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 adits. Exploratory probing took place in the service tunnel, in the form of extensive forward probing, vertical downward probes and sideways probing. The surveying in —59 catered for immersed tube 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. Given the previous survey results and access constraints, a more southerly route was investigated in the —73 survey, and the route was confirmed to be feasible.

Information for the tunnelling project also came from work before the cancellation. On the French side at Sangatte, a deep shaft with adits was made.

The actual tunnel alignment, method of excavation and support were essentially the same as the attempt. Geophysical techniques from the oil industry were employed.

Tunnelling was a major engineering challenge, with the only precedent being the undersea Seikan Tunnel in Japan, which opened in A serious risk with underwater tunnels is major water inflow due to the pressure from the sea above, under weak ground conditions. The tunnel also had the challenge of time: The objective was to construct two 7. 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 ; 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 griupe geology.

In the UK rail tunnels, eight lining segments plus a key segment were used; in the French side, five segments plus a key. 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 grouep chalk fines.

Owing to limited space, the precast lining factory was silensyys the Isle of Grain in the Thames estuary, [63] which used Scottish granite aggregate delivered by ship from the Foster Yeoman coastal super quarry at Glensanda in 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 French effort required five TBMs: On the English side, the simpler geology gruope faster open-faced TBMs. These buried TBMs were then used to provide an electrical earth. The French TBMs then completed the tunnel and were dismantled. In contrast to the English machines, which were given alphanumeric names, the French tunnelling machines were all named after women: