Since the Channel Tunnel first opened, it’s been easier and easier for holidaymakers heading to Europe from the UK, and vice versa. However, it’s a relatively recent invention! To that end, there are likely plenty of things many people probably don’t know about the link between England and France. Take a look below for 18 fascinating and fun facts about the Channel Tunnel.
1. The Channel Tunnel took around six years to build, finishing in 1994. The overall build cost around £4.6 billion.
2. In fact, projected costs were much lower – at likely around £1 billion! We wouldn’t want to be balancing those books!
3. Ideas for a tunnel connecting the UK and France date back as far as 1856. The exact method for connecting nations has changed massively over the years, however, as a horse-changing island was proposed back in the 19th Century.
4. Statistics show that more than 6x the population of the UK has travelled through the tunnel since 1994.
5. This number may or may not include pets – as over two million cats and dogs have travelled through the Channel Tunnel since 2000! This is as a result of a pet travel scheme that came into effect around the millennium.
6. There’s actually more than one tunnel connecting England and France. The Channel Tunnel consists of a service tunnel in the middle, with two running tunnels at either end. The service tunnel is for emergency use.
7. Tunnel shuttles are huge – at around 800 metres in length!
8. Over 13,000 people helped to design and build the Channel Tunnel. That includes everyone from initial designers and planners through to engineers and construction teams.
9. However, ten workers tragically lost their lives during its construction.
10. The tunnel stretches up to 31 miles in length. It’s thought to be one of the longest tunnels in active use worldwide.
11. An average of 50,000 people travel via the tunnel each day. That’s an average of around 6,000 cars and 400 trains.
12. Journeys are surprisingly quick! You can travel from end to end in as little as 35 minutes.
13. The vast majority of people who travel via Channel Tunnel are British – in terms of car passengers, a staggering 85% of people visit from the UK.
14. However, measures to increase border control at either end were brought in several years ago, following a rising immigration crisis.
15. In fact, for the longest time, British officials worried more about rabies! The UK was free from rabies at the time of the tunnel’s unveiling. However, it was specifically designed to prevent the disease from returning to the island.
16. The tunnel’s opening took place in May 1994, and both French President Francois Mitterrand and Queen Elizabeth II took centre stage.
17. Up to 24 miles of the tunnel are underwater.
18. The tunnel was instrumental in the London 2012 Olympics, as the Olympic Torch travelled through here on the way to the city!