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Eurotunnel is preparing to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of the Channel Tunnel. The cross-channel tunnel took six years to construct and was opened in 1994.

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A high-speed Eurostar train exits the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles, near Calais. The project needed 12,000 engineers, technicians and workers for its construction.

CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/REUTERS

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Two employees walk between two Eurotunnel freight trains at the Channel Tunnel maintenance centre in Coquelles. The project is the world’s longest underwater tunnel over nearly 38 kilometres from northern France to southern England.

PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

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An employee works next to a Eurotunnel freight train at the Channel Tunnel maintenance centre. The project earned the ‘Global Engineering of the Century Award’ by the International Federation of Consulting Engineers.

CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/REUTERS

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Trucks are unloaded from a Eurotunnel freight train after crossing the Channel Tunnel. The project was inaugurated by the Queen and François Mitterrand on May 6, 1994.

CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/REUTERS

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Workers install a banner over the entrance of the service gallery of the Channel Tunnel. The service was overshadowed for years by financial problems that almost tore apart Eurotunnel, the company contracted to manage and operate the tunnel until 2086.

PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS

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A Eurotunnel freight train drivers looks from his control cabin as he prepares to enter the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles. Construction lasted six years, cost some €15-billion euros and saw workers dig three tunnels – one for each direction and one in the middle for service work.

CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/REUTERS

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A passenger asks a Eurostar conductor for directions at St. Pancras International station in London. After initial disappointing traffic, the number of people using the Channel Tunnel increasingly grew and some 330 million passengers have made the trip since 1994.

SUZANNE PLUNKETT/REUTERS

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Japanese tourists talk with a Eurostar attendant before their departure from London’s Waterloo International Station. The Channel Tunnel, which carries passengers and freight traffic in separate services, has now become a formidable competitor to maritime ferry services and airlines on the Paris to London route.

KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

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