The Channel Tunnel, also known as Eurotunnel due to the name of the company that manages and operates it, is an undersea rail tunnel linking England with France beneath the English Channel.
Inaugurated in May 1994 by British Queen Elizabeth II and French President Francois Mitterrand, the Channel Tunnel has the biggest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world, with 37.9 kilometres, yet the Seikan railway tunnel in Japan is at the same time longer overall (having 53.85 kilometres) and deeper (at 240 metres under sea level). A through-rail passenger and freight, it unites Folkestone, Kent, United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais, France, having two single track tunnels and one service tunnel. More than ten tunnel boring machines, which began to operate from both parts (England to France) of the Channel, worked through chalk marl in order to built the two rail tunnels and the service tunnel (with a circular cross section and the overhead line that at present is powering the thirty-one Eurostar trains and the seven others ordered by the British Railways).
During time several incidents occurred in the Channel Tunnel, not an unusual situation for a structure that implied a huge engineering challenge, but most importantly had great risks. Three major fires caused the temporary closing of the Channel Tunnel, all incidents involving the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) shuttles, but also others more minor took place. In addition to this, several train failures took place on different occasions, as in February 1996, due to snow and ice being deposited and then melting on the circuit boards and in December 2009 when due to heavy snowfall more than 2,000 passengers were caught in the tunnel for one night.
Since 1996 the Eurotunnel is included in the Seven Wonders of the Modern by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), in an attempt to show the modern equivalent to the well known classical Seven Wonders of the World.