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The Channel Tunnel: Timeline of the building site of the century

Published on May 4, 2014 1:00 PM
French and British TML (TransManche Link) workers look at the Tunnel boring machine (TMD) "Europa" during the link-up in the North gallery of the Channel Tunnel on May 22, 1991. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Technological wizardry, historic handshakes and catastrophe on the stock exchange: all have marked the history of the Channel Tunnel, the busy rail link between Britain and mainland Europe, which was inaugurated two decades ago.

February 12, 1986: The treaty of Canterbury launching the construction of the tunnel under the Channel is signed in the presence of then British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and French president Francois Mitterrand.

The result of a 200-year-old dream nurtured by both nations, the project involves a 50.5-kilometre link, the world's longest under water.

November 1987: Eurotunnel, the company entrusted with building the tunnel, enters the stock exchange. Hundreds of thousands of small investors in France and Britain rush to buy what are presented as safe investments.

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