Channel Tunnel: thirty years of unforgettable journeys

Channel Tunnel: thirty years of unforgettable journeys
Channel Tunnel: thirty years of unforgettable journeys

© Christophe Morin/Bloomberg/Getty Images

– The Channel Tunnel celebrates its 30th anniversary on Monday May 6.

On May 6, 1994, François Mitterrand and Elizabeth II inaugurated the Channel Tunnel. Thirty years and 500 million passengers later, the Eurotunnel (today operated by the company Getlink) went through multiple twists and turns and unusual events, as recounted in 20 Minutes, this Monday, May 6. In 2014, then in 2019, the tunnel operator notably organized a cross-channel marathon for its employees. To mark the 25th anniversary of the work, 94 amateur runners took part in the event.

Another anecdote, less cheerful this time, on August 4, 2010, a twenty travelers were simply forgotten by tunnel personnel. How could this have happened? When they arrived in Calais, from Folkestone, England, no one came to open the door of their shuttle and the train therefore went in the other direction. It was only once the train arrived in England that the employees discovered their blunder, and the passengers therefore headed back to Calais.

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Eurotunnel: they are stuck underground for five hours and have to leave the site on foot

80 animals imported illegally

Nearly 2,000 people still remember their trip made during the winter of 2009. At that time, five trains remained stuck in the tunnel and its surroundings due to technical malfunctions caused by the cold and snow. Passengers stuck under the Channel had to be evacuated and use the service tunnel to board another train.

Over thirty years, customs agents have also been able to make astonishing discoveries. In 2007, they notably checked two British antique dealers who had hidden a dead and stuffed tiger in their van. And in 2013, it was live animals that customs officers were surprised to detect. In total, they got their hands on nearly 80 animals, including caimans, pythons and other new pets (NAC), illegally imported by traffickers.

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