The dream of 200 years and more than 30 previous attempts became reality with the undersea breakthrough on 1st December 1990 of the UK and French Channel Tunnel Service Tunnel Boring Machines which was a historic occasion without precedent. It created the first land bridge between the UK and France for 12,000 years and was heralded by the press as 'second only to walking on the moon!' The Channel Tunnel is one of the wonders of the modern world. It is thirty-two miles long at an average depth of 45 metres below the sea-bed, the longest undersea tunnel and the second longest rail tunnel in the world (only the Seikan Tunnel in Japan is longer). It was built between 1987 and 1994 by Anglo-French consortium TransManche Link and is owned and operated by Anglo-French Eurotunnel plc. It opened for business in late 1994, offering services including a shuttle train for car, coach and freight vehicles, a Eurostar high-speed passenger service linking London with Paris and Brussels and a rail freight service. The tunnel boring machines were specially designed for excavating the chalk marl rock which lies beneath the seabed along the tunnel route. Digging the tunnel took 15 thousand workers around 170 million man hours over 7 years with tunnelling happening simultaneously from both ends. The Channel Tunnel consists of three parallel tunnels. There are two rail tunnels carrying trains to and from the UK to France and a smaller access tunnel served by narrow rubber-tyred vehicles and connected by transverse passages to the main tunnels at regular intervals. It allows maintenance workers access to the tunnels and provides a safe route for escape during emergencies.
Ubicazione: 40m under seabed between UK and France, Europe
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