A Brief History
On November 18, 1996, the Channel Tunnel, or more familiarly, the Chunnel, was the scene of a terrifying event as a train carrying semi-tractor trailers, or “Heavy Goods Vehicles” as they are known in Europe, along with their drivers, caught on fire, probably due to arson.
The driver, or engineer, knew of the fire but planned on going through anyway, but the train stalled 12 miles into the 31 mile long tunnel. The problem quickly became apparent as thick smoke enveloped the locomotive and the passenger car.
Luckily, the event did not turn into a tragedy, as all passengers and crew were evacuated, and the fire was put out 13 hours later. Damage to the tunnel was fixed within six months, and procedures were changed to deal with future fires.
Question for students (and subscribers): Have you ever traveled in a long tunnel? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Fetherston, Drew. The Chunnel: The Amazing Story of the Undersea Crossing of the English Channel. Crown, 1997.
Fine, Jil. The Chunnel: The Building of a 200-Year-Old Dream. Childrens Pr, 2004.
The featured image in this article, a map by User:Edgepedia of the location of the 1996 Channel Tunnel fire (English), is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.