The Chunnel Celebrates 20th Birthday

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French President François Mitterrand welcomes Queen Elizabeth II during the inauguration of the Channel Tunnel, on May 6, 1994, in Coquelles. (Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty Images)

Twenty years ago today, Queen Elizabeth of Britain and French President François Mitterrand crossed the English Channel by train, inaugurating the Channel Tunnel, which would be the first land link between the two countries.

The tunnel, now branded the “Chunnel,” took seven years to build. It’s actually three 35-mile-long tunnels equipped for passenger trains and for shuttles that can carry cars and trucks.

We’ve reached back into NPR’s archives for this story about the Chunnel by reporter Michael Goldfarb.


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