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Channel Tunnel

Shoshana R. Meiri

Imagine sitting in a high-speed train that's thundering through a tunnel, knowing all the while that the powerful sea is pounding high above your head. A journey under the sea? How could you do that? Well, if you were travelling between England and France, you could.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The United Kingdom is an island that is separated from the rest of Europe by a body of water called the English Channel. You could take the traditional route and cross the Channel by ferry; or you could travel by train under the sea through the Channel Tunnel, a rail tunnel linking England and France, running approximatelyt 150 feet (45 meters) below the seabed. (The sea is relatively shallow; it has an average depth of less than 50 meters / 164 ft between Dover, England, and Calais, France.)

The tunnel carries both high-speed passenger trains, known as Eurostar, and trains for road vehicles, called Le Shuttle. Passengers of Eurostar catch the train at London Waterloo, Paris Gare du Nord, or Brussels Midi (Belgium). Drivers of cars, coaches (buses), and lorries (trucks) travel to the tunnel terminals on the English or French coasts, where they drive their vehicles down a ramp and straight onto the train. Le Shuttle's maximum speed is a powerful 100 mph, while the Eurostar train can rocket at the breathtaking speed of 185 mph (although it usually keeps to the more sedate 100 mph).

At 31 miles, the Channel Tunnel is the second longest rail tunnel in the world, behind the Seikan Tunnel in Japan. It is the longest under-sea tunnel in the world, running under the sea for 24 miles.  


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