By Webteam - 1st December 2018 6:01am
Linking Britain and France by tunnel, a dream since at least 1802 became a reality on December 1 1990 when an Englishman crossed into the French section, and a Frenchman returned the compliment. The two men squeezed through a hole enlarged since a 50mm bore-hole had broken through on October 30.
Work on the project (which was not the first effort to get underway of course) had begun on December 17 1988 , and it would be another four years after the breakthrough before all the tunnel and track construction would be completed, the official opening coming on May 6 1994. But with the crossing of Graham Fagg and Phillippe Cozette some 40m beneath the seabed off Folkestone we had at last been given a practical demonstration of what the tunnel would mean.
The Channel Tunnel was and is an engineering marvel, and has made a significant change to freight and passenger transport to and from this country — the continent can no longer be cut off by fog in the Straits of Dover . It is in some ways a major green measure, travel now between Paris and London simpler and often quicker point-to-point by train than plane, with less environmental impact. But it would be straining reality to call it a financial success, given the estimated cost was £2.6 billion, and the actual came in £2 billion over that.
Do you want to read the editor's Brexit rant?
First we had the Entente Cordiale, then jeux sans frontiers, then Concorde and then the Channel Tunnel. Now we have Brexit — is it really true that humanity gets wiser as time goes by?
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