You are currently browsing the daily archive for May 6, 2019.

May 6, 2019 marks the Channel Tunnel’s Silver Anniversary:

Eurotunnel operates the Channel Tunnel, which transports Eurostar as well as Le Shuttle trains.

The original three destinations for Eurostar from the UK were Paris, Lille and Brussels.

Eurostar trains originally left and arrived from Waterloo Station. Now they leave from London St Pancras, which is next to Kings Cross Station:

Destinations have expanded to Lyon, Marseille and Amsterdam.

I remember at the time that The Economist, among other publications, was most sceptical about the viability of Eurotunnel traffic and financing.

Yet, over the years, more Eurostar and Le Shuttle (for road vehicles) trains travel to and from the Continent than 25 years ago.

What follows is a brief glimpse of Channel Tunnel rail history.

The concept of a Channel Tunnel dates back to 1802:

From Le Figaro‘s 1994 archives: the dual grand opening ceremonies. Danielle Mitterand, the president’s wife, is on the left:

Here is an original advert for Eurostar:

Here is the original Pierre Balmain tie from the men’s Eurostar uniform:

The trains remain the same:

On the big day, the Queen and the French president posed for a photo op on board a Le Shuttle train in the royal Rolls:

I remember the day well. After all the years of negativity about the project, opening day was one of celebration and optimism, at least in our household.

My better half and I went to Paris on a short break with friends the following year, travelling in business class on Eurostar. It was relaxing and scenic. The food was good, too.

We made several business trips on Eurostar afterwards. Although it is more expensive than flying, it is more convenient in many ways. Arriving in the centre of a city is much nicer than worrying about transport to and from the point of departure.

This is a huge day for European transport:

Brexit or not, long may Eurotunnel and its services continue.

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