The Channel Tunnel

Contributor: Roxann Penny. Lesson ID: 12712

Have you ever ridden in a car over a river on a bridge? Have you ever ridden in a car UNDER the water? Thanks to the Chunnel, cars go under the English Channel every day! Check out this cool tunnel!


World, World

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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This machine pictured above ended 8000 years of separation!

  • What is it?

The Channel Tunnel, also known as the Chunnel, is an undersea tunnel that connects Great Britain to France.

Take a look at the image below. It illustrates the location of the tunnel:

course of the Channel Tunnel

Image by Mortadelo2005, via Wikimedia Commons, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The tunnel is the longest undersea tunnel in the world. It is 31 miles long. At its lowest point, the tunnel runs 250 feet below sea level.

It took over 13,000 workers to complete, with teams of French and British workers working at opposite sides of the tunnel. The British team of workers made faster progress on the construction because their French counterparts had delays.

The main tunnel consists of three tunnels: two passenger tunnels and one maintenance tunnel that runs between the two passenger tunnels.

London's St Pancras station

Image by Loco Steve, via flickr, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

When construction of the tunnel was completed in 1994, it reduced the travel time from England to France to 35 minutes. However, the final cost was astronomical at a price tag of 15 billion dollars.

Every day, thousands of people travel through the tunnel on passenger, shuttle, and freight trains.

To learn more about this modern wonder, view the following brief video clip from HSTE Channel. (The clip will end at 4:08, but you may watch the entire 47 minute documentary if you would like to learn more.)

As you view The Channel Tunnel Documentary, consider the following discussion questions:

  • What are some of the challenges the engineers faced during construction of the tunnel?
  • Why do you think both France and England worked together on building the tunnel? Do you think this was a wise choice?
  • How do you think the workers felt when they completed boring the tunnel?

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  • Did you discover anything thing new while viewing the video?
  • Before the tunnel was constructed, how do you think people traveled across the channel between England and France?

When you are ready, continue to the Got It? section to test how much you know about the Channel Tunnel by answering a few questions.

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