On May 6, 1994, the Channel Tunnel, nicknamed the “Chunnel,” officially opened an underground link between the island of Great Britain and mainland
Europe. Today, the Channel Tunnel transport
s more than 20 million passengers and 19 million tons of freight
The Channel Tunnel has been named one of the seven modern “wonders of the world” by the American Society of Civil Engineer
s. It stretches about 50 kilometers (31 miles), most of which is 45 meters (150 feet) beneath the seafloor
of the English Channel. Its endpoints are Cheriton, England, and Coquelles, France. The Channel Tunnel is actually three parallel
tunnels—two rail tunnels carry cargo
in either direction, while a service tunnel runs between them. It took about two years for British and French engineers, drilling into relatively soft chalk and clay from either side of the Channel, to meet.
The high-speed trains that zip through the tunnel have made it easier, less expensive
, and quicker to travel between Great Britain and Europe. The time it takes to travel between Paris or Brussels and London, for example, is about two hours.