Work begins on the Channel Tunnel

BOOK KENT HOTELS

History on 17th December


IRA bomb Harrods

The Wright Brothers take Flight

Work begins on the Channel Tunnel

Dover, Kent The 17th of December 1988 AD

Tunnelling work started on the English end of the Channel Tunnel on December 17 1988, in fact a little after the French began from their side. But then the French had always seemed keener on the project – their Senate passed the necessary legislation to enable work to begin in June 1987; in Britain royal assent was given in July that year. But our engineers did dig 84km of tunnels compared to the French 69km; and we employed six of the giant TBMs (tunnel boring machines), whereas the French used only five; and the best week’s excavation by British workers saw 426m progress; the French record was 322m. Sadly one record we cannot be proud of is that the British workforce lost eight men in the six years of digging; the French only two.
The Channel Tunnel is an amazing achievement, though in financial terms it has since proved to be a less than sparkling success: no wonder, given that the creation of the tunnel ended with an 80 per cent cost over-run. The sheer scale of the project takes some comprehending: enough rubble to make three of the great Cheops Pyramid in Egypt was excavated; on the English side this amounted to 4 million cubic metres of chalk, which had to be found a home – thus the UK gained 90 acres of land as it was dumped off Shakespeare Cliff in Kent, an area now landscaped and used as a park.

More famous dates here

4947 views since 17th March 2008

Brit Quote:
How little do they see what is, who frame their hasty judgments upon that which seems - Robert Southey
More Quotes

On this day:
Oxford surrenders to the Roundheads - 1646, The Legendary Newbury Coat Made - 1811, Worlds First Live Satellite Broadcast - 1967
More dates from British history

click here to view all the British counties

County Pages

//