Channel Tunnel shows need for real-world thinking

Arguably the greatest Anglo-French achievement in history is the Channel Tunnel. The incredible link was opened by the Queen and President François Mitterrand in 1994 as a symbol of growing ties between two of Europe’s most powerful countries, and has largely fulfilled all expectations.

Not only do undersea trains now transport more than 10 million passengers a year, but huge quantities of rail freight add to the equally massive tonnage of goods moved more conventionally on Calais-Dover ferries.

Remember that this small stretch of the English Channel is a natural barrier to invasion – one that has protected Britain for centuries – meaning it has to be policed as a closed border, while also remaining open for business round the clock.

This strange contradiction furthers the Tunnel’s status as a modern marvel, but such a reputation ...

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