The Channel Tunnel took about five years, eleven enormous tunnel-boring machines like this one, and incredible engineering skill to link the island of Great Britain and mainland Europe.
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    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 transports more than 20 million passengers and 19 million tons of freight every year.
    The Channel Tunnel has been named one of the seven modern “wonders of the world” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. 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. 
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    cargo Noun

    goods carried by a ship, plane, or other vehicle.

    channel Noun

    waterway between two relatively close land masses.

    Encyclopedic Entry: channel
    civil engineer Noun

    person who works in the design and construction of buildings, roads, and other public facilities.

    expensive Adjective

    very costly.

    freight Noun

    goods transported by air, land, or sea for profit.

    mainland Noun

    continent's landmass.

    parallel Adjective

    equal distance apart, and never meeting.

    seafloor Noun

    surface layer of the bottom of the ocean.

    strait Noun

    narrow passage of water that connects two larger bodies of water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: strait
    transport Verb

    to move material from one place to another.