Completed in 1994, the Channel Tunnel (in French: le tunnel sous la Manche), or Chunnel, is a 31.35 mile long rail tunnel beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover and provides a quick, safe and reliable alternative to Cross Channel Ferries.
Eurotunnel operate a fleet of 25 shuttles which transport coaches, passenger and freight vehicles between the two Eurotunnel terminals in Folkestone (Kent, south east England) and Calais Coquelles (Pas-de-Calais, France) using the large infrastructure of the Channel Tunnel. The Channel Tunnel is over 31 miles long and, on average, 150 feet deep under the seabed. Once inside the Eurotunnel shuttle you can relax in your own vehicle or stretch your legs for the quick 35 minute journey.
The Channel Tunnel is one of the world's largest mega projects, which was finally officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterrand in a ceremony held in Calais on 6 May 1994. It is the second-longest rail tunnel in the world, and the undersea section, which is approximately 23.55 miles, is the longest undersea tunnel in the world. It is operated by Eurotunnel and Eurostar.
The Tunnel is now classed as one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Digging the tunnel took 13,000 workers over seven years, with tunneling operations conducted simultaneously from both ends.
The main rail tunnels met on May 22, 1991 and on June 28, 1991, each accompanied by a breakthrough ceremony. Almost 5 million cubic yards of chalk were excavated on the British side, much of which was dumped below Shakespeare Cliff near Folkestone to reclaim 0.36 km² (90 acres) of land from the sea.
The Channel Tunnel is made up of twin rail tunnels and a service tunnel below the bed of the Straits of Dover and is 31 miles (50 km) long and the average depth is 150 feet (45 m) underneath the seabed.
All the Shuttles and trains which use the Channel Tunnel are electric, thus substantially limiting the amount of greenhouse gases that may be released into the environment. The tunnel was has allowed the expansion of exchanges of both people and goods between the UK and the continent. Since commercial services started more 195 million people have travelled through the Channel Tunnel.
Eurotunnel plc (in the UK) and Eurotunnel SA (in France) make up the Eurotunnel Group, founded in August 1986. Eurotunnel manages the infrastructure of the Channel Tunnel and operates a fleet of 25 Shuttles which transport passenger vehicles, coaches or trucks between the two terminals in Folkestone (Kent, UK) and Calais Coquelles (Pas-de-Calais, France). Eurotunnel is the market leader for Cross Channel travel. Eurotunnel also earns toll revenue from other train operators (Eurostar for rail passengers, and EWS and SNCF for rail freight) which use the Tunnel.