- Twenty years ago in December 1990, England and France were joined under the sea through the central service tunnel headings of the Channel Tunnel fixed link. Twenty years later in December 2010, the event was commemorated at a celebration in Calais at which the two tunnellers who greeted each other across that first French/English breakthrough where on hand to repeat the historic handshake. Philippe Cozette of France and UK TBM operator Graham Fagg, were among thousands of national and international tunnellers, workers, suppliers and manufacturers who worked on or were associated with the Channel Tunnel effort.
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An historic handshake of 20 years ago repeated and described in video interview in Dec 2010 by former tunnellers Graham Fagg of the UK (left) and Philippe Cozette of France
- As part of the 20th anniversary coverage, TunnelTalk asked readers to tell us how they were involved on the project. The first responses are in and we look forward to publishing many more stories of the multi-national tunnelling team effort that had England and France finally fix-linked.
- Let us know your particular Channel Tunnel story and the memories you have of that time in your tunnelling career.
From: Roy West
Message: I was involved with the Channel Tunnel, working as a Leading Miner on the Service Tunnel from the extension of the starting chamber until the connection of the last 82 rings that were hand-built. I was very proud to be included in the 20 men who made the journey on the 1st of December 1990 from England all the way through to France and therefore becoming one of the first 40 men to make the crossing by land since the Ice Age. I am now working on a major project in New York, USA.
From: Yasunori Kondo
Message: From May of 1986, just after the British and French governments approved the Channel Tunnel project in February of that year, I started to stay in Lille in northern France as the representative TBM engineer of Kawasaki and fought against severe world competition to get an order for Kawasaki of two TBMs of 8.11m diameter for the French marine running tunnels T2 and T3, as a JV with Robbins in July 1987. Meanwhile, I was concerned with the development of the new technology and main specifications decision of the TBMs, including one of the earliest uses of vacuum segment erectors in tunnelling. I did work as chief representative of TAC teams from the excavation start of 1988 on site. The first TBM had finally entered into the natural ground of the Channel after assembling the segments of the first five rings and on December 5, 1988. I got the honor to push the start button. My treasure is a small piece of the chalk marl that includes a fossil and an overlaying of iron pyrites on the surface that I found at the 10km distance.
- Tell us your story.
Channel Tunnel handshake of history - TunnelTalk, Dec 2010
PP spalling resistance of concrete - the Channel Tunnel link - TunnelTalk, Nov 2010
Vacuum segment erectors on the Channel Tunnel - TunnelTalk, May 2010
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