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About the Channel Tunnel

Operation of the Channel Tunnel

Under the sea there are two single-track rail tunnels, and there is a third smaller tunnel (service tunnel) as an emergency exit with lots of cross passages linking all the tunnels. The tunnels were bored through the chalk from either side of the channel, and they met in the middle. The tunnels are lined with concrete panels.

The Channel Tunnel is operated by Eurotunnel "le Shuttle", they share the tracks with high speed long-distance trains run by Eurostar these trains are electric. Cars drive onto the double-deck shuttle train and freight lorries have their own trains. Folkestone terminal is next to the M20 motorway which is about 35 minutes from France. In 1993 a high-speed rail link was opened from the French-side to Lille, and from there to Paris and Brussels. Eurostar trains had to go slow through Kent at 70 miles an hour on normal lines, speeding up once they reached the Tunnel and then they raced through the French countryside.

Another Tunnel?
The Tunnel Company were given a monopoly for 25 years, they had to produce a study for a second tunnel.

Cross-channel traffic has increased steadily over the years, and the first tunnel now covers its running costs, but it has been slow in paying off the money it borrowed for the construction. So it might be difficult to find funding for the new tunnel.

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