In this episode, the pace hots up as the British and French tunnellers race towards the breakthrough point, 40 meters under the seabed. The process of building the Channel Tunnel claimed the lives of eleven tunnellers and highlighted the dangers inherent in this unique working environment.
Eventually on the 1st December 1990, British tunneller Graham Fagg and his French counterpart Philippe Cozette, smashed through the final section of rock linking a country with a continent for the first time since the ice age. After a combined drilling distance of fifty kilometres, the two tunnels were off by just thirty five centimetres. The French welcomed the British with champagne, canapés. On the British side there was only water and tea.
Over the years, the tunnel has shown extraordinary powers of resilience. For both British and French economies, it’s been a huge success as the number of people using the tunnel has increased while freight costs have reduced. Today, it stands as a testament to the 13,000 workers who toiled for six years to build one of the seven wonders of the modern world.