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Approx "how long" is the underwater portion of Eurostar?

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Old Jun 14, 05, 2:02 am
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Approx "how long" is the underwater portion of Eurostar?

I dont' do subterranean very well. And Im curious on taking this train from London to Paris on an upcoming trip.

So how long are you physically submerged in the tube. Under the water? I guess im worrying about having a bit of an anxiety attack. If it's an hour, I dont think I could do it. If it's 15 mins, that's doable. lol

edited to say: I know this might be amusing to some people, but some of us do have odd anxieties such as being underground, or in tunnels or hurling thru an aluminum tube at 600 mph. (That one I dont have any worries about )
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Old Jun 14, 05, 2:05 am
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20 minutes at the most. I think it was around 15 minutes last time I did it. Very fast. You would barely notice it .
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Old Jun 14, 05, 2:08 am
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http://raileurope.com/us/rail/eu...nel_tunnel.htm


"The Channel Tunnel


Eurostar speeds you through the Channel Tunnel, one of Europe's biggest infrastructure projects to date. The $15 billion Channel Tunnel makes the old dream of a ground link between Great Britain and continental Europe a reality for the first time since the Ice Ages.



The tunnel consists of 3 interconnected tubes: 1 rail track each way plus 1 service tunnel. Its length is 31 miles, of which 23 miles are underwater. Its average depth is 150 feet under the seabed. The channel crossing time for Eurostar is only 20 minutes."
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Old Jun 14, 05, 2:30 am
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It is very fast. Be aware that it is announced at both sides that you are about to enter the tunnel. This may or may not make a difference to you: I know it does to some.

Also, it may help to get a train that stops at Calais-Fréthun on London-Paris journeys, or Ashford on Paris-London. Although you hopefully don't have to get off there, it can help just to know that the possibility is there to do so, immediately after the tunnel.
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Old Jun 14, 05, 3:14 am
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it's totally uneventful (that's a good thing). once the novelty wears off, it's just a nice train ride. don't worry.
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Old Jun 14, 05, 3:58 am
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I had just come off a transatlantic flight one way and did an early morning return with out much sleep the other and I don't even remember the chunnel portion of the trips. It was great not making a trip outor in to either city to the airport, hours in advance to take a flight. This is a convenient, well run, competitively priced service.
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Old Jun 14, 05, 5:24 am
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I didn't go through the tunnel on it's Day 1 - but I did on Day 2 !! And of course many times since.

The underwater section is 22 miles but as you can imagine there are long approach gradients as the tunnel works down to well under the sea, so the tunnel is another 10 miles in length. Total transit time is invariably 20 minutes nowadays entry to exit, of which about 14 minutes will be under the sea. Cruising speed of passenger trains about 75 mph. If you know Dover the tunnel runs out under the sea right under the town and harbour (though there is no sign of it).

The Channel is surprisingly shallow, to the extent that any ships sunk have to be carefully marked and got out of the way otherwise other ships run the risk of striking the wreck sticking up from the seabed.

Compared to other rail and road tunnels under estuaries the Channel Tunnel is a long way down beneath the sea bed (which they did to get down into the chalk rock which is much easier to dig through).

There is absolutely no sensation of going down or up (there's no flat section at the bottom, it's more of a flattened "W" profile which was done to facilitate drainage engineering). At the one third and two thirds points (say at minutes 7 and 14) there are switches between the two tunnels and if you have an ear for them as the train runs over them you can know your progress.

The transit time is a bit longer now than at first opening because since then the number of other trains has increased and the big, very heavy trains that haul road trucks under The Channel can only manage about 60-70 mph going up the gradients and all the other trains have to fit around them. Sometimes you will notice your passenger train slows up towards the end which is a sign it is being controlled by signals behind one of these "Freight Shuttles", still several miles ahead on the tracks. One quiet evening, in contrast, we cruised effortlessly at 100 mph end-to-end, my fastest transit time ever (I still always clock the time to go through).

On Day 2 I returned from Paris in the dark (it was December) and apart from the announcements most passengers never noticed when we were in the tunnel or out of it. The trains (a variant of the French TGV) are great.

On that inaugural outbound morning trip there was a poor guy seated across the aisle from me, a student I guess, who had also laid out the not inconsiderable sum for the first trip. Obviously an excited train buff he had all his technical books, locomotive histories, maps, timetables etc with him. He also had his girlfriend with him who looked completely bored with the whole thing from first boarding, and just acted sulky the whole trip and seemed to wreck it for him. I'd have left her in Paris to find ther own way home !

Last edited by WHBM; Jun 14, 05 at 5:37 am
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Old Jun 14, 05, 6:02 am
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Originally Posted by kincaid
I guess im worrying about having a bit of an anxiety attack. If it's an hour, I dont think I could do it. If it's 15 mins, that's doable. lol

edited to say: I know this might be amusing to some people, but some of us do have odd anxieties such as being underground, or in tunnels or hurling thru an aluminum tube at 600 mph. (That one I dont have any worries about )
In that case you have nothing to worry about. Think of it as taking an extended subway journey (but much smoother) as I do. Some people think that the tunnel may crack and water will seep in but that's not the case because the Tunnel was bored out of the soft chalk which is mixed with clay far below the seabed. Not much chance of a leak even if there was a crack. I studied the construction of the Channel Tunnel back in 1993 as part of my GCSE Geography coursework which I found fascinating.
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Old Jun 14, 05, 1:56 pm
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It is very quick and really not noticeable, except for the lack of a view. You might want to consider going first class, as they serve the included meal during the time you are underground. It can help take your mind off where you are at the time.
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Old Jun 14, 05, 5:29 pm
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As all have posted: no worries. I also dislike being enclosed, but have no problem with multliple chunnel trips; your ears may pop, but that's about it until you emerge 20 " later.
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Old Jun 14, 05, 10:00 pm
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thank you all for your comments. The long descriptions and links to diagrams were also helpful.

I had no idea it would only be about 20 mins 'subterranean'. Thats a comfort. I think I might make the first departure an evening departure. And I HOPE that stops 'mid tunnel' are a rarity.
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Old Jun 15, 05, 9:59 am
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If you hold your hand over the aircon vents next to the window just after you leave the Ashford stop, you'll feel it cut out for a few minutes. This is where the train switches from "third rail" power to the overhead cables.

Also, there are fire doors that close between each carriage before you go into the tunnel. You can open these by just pressing a button, but probably best to be forewarned so no unnecessary panic once on board...
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Old Jun 15, 05, 10:17 am
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Originally Posted by Swiss Tony
If you hold your hand over the aircon vents next to the window just after you leave the Ashford stop, you'll feel it cut out for a few minutes. This is where the train switches from "third rail" power to the overhead cables
This now takes place at Longfield Junction, near Gravesend, much nearer to London, following the opening of the first half of the express railway from the Channel Tunnel to London. Also accompanied by a marked increase in speed.

Regarding Channel Tunnel mid-tunnel stops, I've never known one to happen.

Interestingly no one ever has a concern about the sections of the London Underground that pass under the Thames, usually so close to the riverbed that repair works can be done from a barge in the river working downwards, and maintenance crews walking through at night can hear ships propellers overhead. If you are on the Underground station platforms just before a line goes under the river you can see the big watertight gates that were installed in WW2 in case these tunnels were breached during an air raid. They were never needed but are still occasionally tested.

Last edited by WHBM; Jun 15, 05 at 10:24 am
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Old Jun 15, 05, 10:25 am
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i really havent been on Eurostar for years, shall make an effort to do so in 2006's european holiday..
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Old Jun 16, 05, 2:55 am
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Originally Posted by WHBM
Interestingly no one ever has a concern about the sections of the London Underground that pass under the Thames, usually so close to the riverbed that repair works can be done from a barge in the river working downwards, and maintenance crews walking through at night can hear ships propellers overhead. .
Perception I guess.. There's a huge difference (to me) in being under a river which may or may not be 20-50 feet or so (Im just guessing) for a max 1 min (the river is not that wide) vs. a HUGE expanse of foreboding, dark, choppy water (where all sorts of scary creatures may exist) which could be a mile or more deep. (again, Im guessing, but it's perception).
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