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01-12-1990

Hole Lotta Love

This might get a little boring. As it was on this day in 1990 that, for the first time since the Ice Age, Great Britain was joined to mainland Europe through the magical concoction of tunnelling. The bit of the channel tunnel that started on the south coast of England met the other bit of the channel tunnel burrowing its way from France. And, to everyone’s relief, they actually met. Workers celebrated this ‘grand conjunction’ by popping open some Champers - the only time that booze had been allowed in the tunnel up until that moment. Later on, prohibitive prices in the buffet meant that this was a traditional that continued, once the Eurostar had actually started operation.

The tunnel was eventually completed in 1994, several billion over budget and a year overdue. But surely that didn’t matter as we now had a Chunnel which we could all love and explore? No, not quite. In fact, during its first year the Channel Tunnel lost a vast amount of money. It took a few years for the public to accept the notion of ‘going to France in a tunnel’. But now we all do it all the time!