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KF5JRV > TODAY    01.12.18 14:00l 39 Lines 1960 Bytes #2 (0) @ WW
BID : 26089_KF5JRV
Subj: Today in History - Dec 01
Sent: 181201/1242Z 26089@KF5JRV.#NWAR.AR.USA.NA BPQ6.0.17

Shortly after 11 a.m. on December 1, 1990, 132 feet below the English
Channel, workers drill an opening the size of a car through a wall of
rock. This was no ordinary hole–it connected the two ends of an
underwater tunnel linking Great Britain with the European mainland for
the first time in more than 8,000 years.

The Channel Tunnel, or “Chunnel,ö was not a new idea. It had been
suggested to Napoleon Bonaparte, in fact, as early as 1802. It wasn’t
until the late 20th century, though, that the necessary technology was
developed. In 1986, Britain and France signed a treaty authorizing the
construction of a tunnel running between Folkestone, England, and
Calais, France.

Over the next four years, nearly 13,000 workers dug 95 miles of tunnels
at an average depth of 150 feet (45 meters) below sea level. Eight
million cubic meters of soil were removed, at a rate of some 2,400 tons
per hour. The completed Chunnel would have three interconnected tubes,
including one rail track in each direction and one service tunnel. The
price? A whopping $15 billion.

After workers drilled that final hole on December 1, 1990, they
exchanged French and British flags and toasted each other with
champagne. Final construction took four more years, and the Channel
Tunnel finally opened for passenger service on May 6, 1994, with
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and France’s President Francois Mitterrand
on hand in Calais for the inaugural run. A company called Eurotunnel won
the 55-year concession to operate the Chunnel, which is the crucial
stretch of the Eurostar high-speed rail link between London and Paris.
The regular shuttle train through the tunnel runs 31 miles in total–23
of those underwater–and takes 20 minutes, with an additional 15-minute
loop to turn the train around. The Chunnel is the second-longest rail
tunnel in the world, after the Seikan Tunnel in Japan.

73 de Scott KF5JRV


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