English Channel Tunnel

 tunnel under English ChannelTunnel under English Channel is quite an interesting piece of engineering that connects England and France under the English Channel waters.

It was built relatively recently and launched only in 1994. It serves as a tunnel for the transport of passengers and goods by special trains.

Tunnel operates trains from London to major European cities such as Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam. This includes high-speed Eurostar trains, which I have already written about. More about how to book a trip to the Eurostar train.

So, the length of this tunnel — 50 kilometers and an average depth is about 60-70 meters (the depth of the English Channel). The tunnel consists of two separate sections for trains and one service tunnel between them (in case of fire or other disaster).

Yesterday I returned from Calais, where the train begins its route for passengers and cars. In addition, this train transports trucks, and they take the whole car up to the ceiling, and if there are regular cars, they are loaded on the train in two levels.

The process is quite simple: you have to buy a ticket online at Eurotunnel(for us round trip transportation by train cost 105 pounds). Make sure to come to the station in advance to drive up to the checkpoint. Machine reads your car plate at entrance and issues the pass automatically. If you arrive earlier and there is availability on earlier trains you might just get lucky.

And if you come early, it is possible that there is a place for you on the earlier train and you do not even have to pay extra for it. It happened to us — we were able to check on the train 30 minutes earlier. Trains run every 30 minutes.

You pass the migration control staying in the car. Border guard checked our passports and provided that you have everything in order with Schengen visa or do not require it you will be allowed to pass.
By the way, the machine will give you a registration ticket — this ticket displays your place in line for the train. For example, the letter S is sent to 19.20 passengers, and the letter T is for passengers for 19.50 train. Carefully check the announcement board with information about loading and departure of trains. As a rule , the first call to load is in 25 minutes before the train and the last in 15 minutes. Be careful and listen for announcements.

The most interesting point — this is when you are invited to ride the train. Line of cars with tags makes long snake until the apron. Eurotunnel workers show you whether to go first or second level. Once you find yourself on a train, you must first put on first gear and activate the hand brake. The doors between the cars close automatically once the car is filled (5 cars, usually). People can still move around the train in case you need to go to the toilet, for this there are small doors which are to be opened by pressing the button.

Passengers are introduced with a short message about the security requirements in English and French and the train starts to move. Do not use the camera with flash and you can not smoke — it can activate the fire alarm.

Train ride takes 25 minutes, you can not say that you can relax and enjoy the trip especially if you go for the first time. Element of fear is present. Furthermore, my ears periodically popped with the depth «immersion».

I was relieved when we got out of the tunnel. Cars are immediately released upon the complete train stop.

An interesting fact about the tunnel itself: illegal immigrants were trying to use it to cross the UK border. If they were trying to do it on foot or by train, it is a question, but how fearless they are!


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