Home Asia Europe North America Polar Regions South America Africa Australia
English
Italian
Korean
Chinese (Simplified)
Chinese (Traditionnal
Portuguese
German
French
Spanish
Japanese
Arabic
Russian
Greek
Dutch
Bulgarian
Czech
Croat
Danish
Finnish
Hindi
Polish
Romanian
Swedish
Norwegian
Catalan
Filipino
Hebrew
Indonesian
Latvian
Lithuanian
Serbian
Slovak
Slovenia
Ukrainian
Vietnamese
Albanian
Estonian
Galician
Maltese
Thai
Turkish
Hungarian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Ancient Wonders of the World
7 Medieval Wonders of the World
7 Modern Wonders of the World
New 7 Wonders of the World
Taj Mahal
7 Natural Wonders of the World
7 Underwater Wonders of the World
7 Industrial Wonders of the World

 

 

 

 

7 Modern Wonders of the World

Channel Tunnel, Strait of Dover
A small two-inch (50-mm) diameter pilot hole allowed the service tunnel to break through without ceremony on 30 October 1990.
Between England and France
Modern Wonders of the World
Dated Started: 12/01/1987
Date Finished: 5/06/1994
Length:50.45 km (31.35 mi)
 
 
7 Modern Wonders of the World
Building the Chunnel[1]

 

The Channel Tunnel (French: Le tunnel sous la Manche), also known as the Chunnel, is a 50.5-kilometre (31.4 mi) undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent in England with Coquelles, near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point it is 75 m (250 ft) deep. The Channel Tunnel has the longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world although the Seikan Tunnel in Japan is both longer overall, at 53.85 kilometres (33.5 mi) and deeper, at 240 metres (790 ft).

The tunnel carries high-speed Eurostar passenger trains, Eurotunnel roll-on/roll-off vehicle transport - the largest in the world - and international rail freight trains. In 1996 the American Society of Civil Engineers identified the tunnel as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

Ideas for a cross-Channel fixed link existed as early as 1802. However, the eventual successful project, organised by Eurotunnel, began construction in 1988 and opened in 1994. The project came in 80% over its predicted budget. Since its construction, the tunnel has faced several problems. Fires have disrupted operation of the tunnel. Illegal immigrants and asylum seekers have used the tunnel to enter Britain (on occasion, even successfully managing to enter the tunnel on foot), causing a minor diplomatic disagreement over the siting of the Sangatte refugee camp, which was eventually closed in 2002.

Organisation

A block diagram describing the organisation structure used on the project. Eurotunnel is the central organisation for construction and operation (via a concession) of the tunnel.The British Channel Tunnel Group consisted of two banks and five construction companies, while their French counterparts, France–Manche, consisting 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.

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 undertaken by the five French construction companies in the joint venture group GIE Transmanche Construction. The English Terminal and boring from Shakespeare Cliff was undertaken by the five English construction companies in the Trankslink Joint Venture. The two partnerships were linked by TransManche Link (TML), a bi- national project organisation. The Maître d'Oeuvre was a supervisory engineering body employed by Eurotunnel under the terms of the concession that monitored project activity and reported back to the governments and banks.

In France, with its long tradition of infrastructure investment, the project garnered widespread approval and in April 1987 the French National Assembly gave unanimous support and, in June 1987, after a public inquiry, the Senate gave unanimous support. In Britain, select committees examined the proposal, making history by holding hearings outside of Westminster, in Kent. In February 1987, the third reading of the Channel Tunnel Bill took place in the House of Commons, and was carried by 94 votes to 22. The Channel Tunnel Act gained Royal assent and passed into English law in July of that year.

The Channel Tunnel is a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) project with a concession. 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; however, the British and French governments controlled final engineering and safety decisions. The British and French governments gave Eurotunnel a 55- (later 65-) year operating concession to repay loans and pay dividends. A Railway Usage Agreement was signed between Eurotunnel, British Rail and the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français 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 arranged £5 billion. Privately financed, the total investment costs at 1985 prices were £2600 million. At the 1994 completion actual costs were, in 1985 prices, £4650 million: an 80% cost overrun. The cost overrun was partly due to enhanced safety, security, and environmental demands. Financing costs were 140% higher than forecast.


Construction
Eleven tunnel boring machines, working from both sides of the Channel, cut through chalk marl in order 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 British and French motorways (M20 and A16 respectively).

Proposals for a fixed link across the English Channel date back to Albert Mathieu's 1802 plan involving horse-drawn carts and an artificial mid-Channel island. For over 150 years, British political and press pressure over compromised national security stalled attempts to construct a tunnel. In 1974, French and UK government-funded construction commenced on both sides of the Channel, but the project was cancelled by the British government, owing to financial concerns. In 1985, the British and French governments invited submissions for a fixed link. Eurotunnel, a group of ten construction companies and five banks, was awarded the project, a triple-bore railway tunnel based on the 1974 attempt. Tunnelling commenced in 1988, and the tunnel began operating in 1994. In 1985 prices, the total construction cost was £4650 million (£10,153 million inflation-adjusted to 2007), an 80% cost overrun. At the peak of construction 15,000 people were employed with daily expenditure over £3 million. Ten workers, eight of them British, were killed during construction between 1987 and 1993, most in the first few months of boring.

Eurotunnel's traffic predictions for the tunnel were overestimated and the group has been challenged financially. In 1996, 2006 and again in 2008, heavy goods vehicle shuttle wagon fires caused severe damage and restricted use of the tunnel, although nobody was seriously hurt in any of the incidents. Five years after the opening of the tunnel, there were few impacts on the wider economy, and it was difficult to identify major developments associated with the tunnel. It was 1999 before Eurostar posted its first net profits, having previously made a loss of £925m in 1995.

In 1996, the American Society of Civil Engineers, with Popular Mechanics, selected the tunnel as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.


Completion

The Channel Tunnel was opened in Calais on 6 May 1994 by British Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterrand.A small two-inch (50-mm) 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, and the tunnel was officially opened by British Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterrand in a ceremony held in Calais on 6 May 1994. 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. Following the ceremony President Mitterrand and the Queen travelled on Le Shuttle to a similar ceremony in Folkestone.

The Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), now called High Speed 1, runs 69 miles (111 km) from St Pancras railway station in London to the Channel Tunnel portal at Folkestone in Kent. It cost £5.8 billion. On 16 September 2003 UK Prime Minister 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. On High Speed 1 trains travel at speeds up to 300 km/h (186 mph), the journey from London to Paris taking 2 hours 15 minutes and London to Brussels taking 1 hour 51 minutes[2]

Another in my "Globetrotting" series. This time, pictures & video from the Chunnel train during my trip to Europe in 2006. Left Paris for London May 1.

  12Shilo12
May 25, 2009

The World Wonders .Com-visit 1,000 world wonders at www.theworldwonders.com

 

 
 
African
American
Asian
European
Oceanian
Others
 
   
 
   
28 finalists-7 winners will be announced in 2011

 

 
References
 
1. Flickr-Channel Tunnel- Creative Commons Attribution License-retrieved 7/20/2009
 2. Wikipedia- Chunnel-retrieved 7/20/2009
 
 
 Wikipedia  text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

 

  Link to this site---Terms of Service---Privacy policy---Contact Us

free web stats