The Chunnel:

The Long Awaited Link between Britain & France

The building of the Eurotunnel, otherwise known as the Chunnel, created a long-awaited link between Britain and the mainland. The Chunnel, going under the Dover Straight, is a huge advancement not only in transportation, but also in construction.

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History

Construction

Problems

Facts

Current Situation

 

 

History

The idea to build an undersea tunnel was first conceived in 1802 and the project was actually started in the late 19th century. But the project was soon abandoned, only to have the idea revived in 1957. In 1973 Britain and France decided to continue the project jointly and work began again but was cancelled in 1975. The idea of finishing the tunnel was raised in 1978 and the final leg of construction was started in 1987.

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Construction

The Chunnel was built from two sides, England and France. The sides would dig independently and then meet up in the middle. The two countries differed greatly in their techniques and equipment. Both sides used huge tunnel-boring machines to dig parts of the tunnel but the French were still more advanced in other machinery. They used machine-built cages to reinforce the tunnel while the English used hand-made, steel tunnel-liners and concrete segments. While the French used cranes to lift tunnel segments into place, the British fitted the segments into place by hand. Nevertheless, in 1990 the two sections of the tunnel met up and the tunnel became one continuous tunnel. The Chunnel held its official opening in May of 1994. Although many problems arose during the building of the tunnel, such as water seeps and geological problems, the Chunnel was completely finished.

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Problems

Although completed, the Chunnel still encountered problems. On November 18, 1996 around 9:45 p.m. one of the trains had a part on fire. The fire was

fairly decent sized and it created explosions that sent shocks through the tunnel. The fire quickly spread and was not completely removed until 5 a.m. the next morning. The fire created a lot of damage but after being repaired, the Chunnel continued with its operations.

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Facts

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Current Situation

The Chunnel, or the Eurotunnel, connects Folkestone, England and Sangatte, France. A trip that once required a large amount of time on a ferry is now a quick 20-minute trip underground. The Chunnel is an incredible tunnel that has not only decreased travel times, but has joined two different countries together. Tickets to ride the Chunnel are available at many locations online.

To access our physics webpage for which this page was created, click on the following link:

http://www.cmi.k12.il.us/~beuschlo/

This page was created by Sejal Vashi

Sources:
The Amazing Story of the Undersea Crossing of the English Channel by Drew Fetherston
http://www.britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/7/0,7,00.5716,1179671-7,00.html
http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/eurostar/channel_tunnel.htm

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