It made the UK bigger

Any self-respecting PR professional knows that a press release should, first and foremost, grab the attention of the reader. Well done to the Institution of Civil Engineers which has produced a fine example of the art – complete with ten mindboggling facts about the Channel Tunnel.

The release reminded us that it was the Tunnel’s 20th anniversary, having been opened by the Queen and President Mitterand in May 1994. Since then, the 50.5-kilometre tunnel linking England and France has come to be seen as one of the greatest-ever feats of civil engineering. And no wonder. We invite you to wrap your brain around just half of the revelations (courtesy of Eurotunnel):

*The soil removed when building the Tunnel could fill Wembley Stadium 13 times over;

*Parked nose-to-tail, the vehicles that have travelled through the Tunnel could have reached the moon;

*Due to soil deposited in Dover when the Tunnel was built, the UK increased in size by 90 acres;

*Eleven boring machines were used in the excavation, each weighing 1,100 tonnes – together, heavier than the Eiffel Tower;

*The equivalent of more than four times the population of the UK has used the crossing since it was opened.

Ok, we can’t help it – we’re going to add another one…and it’s arguably the most surprising fact of all. The idea for the Tunnel was first put forward in….1802. You read it right. That was the year when French mining engineer Albert Mathieu proposed a tunnel under the Channel, illuminated by oil lamps, providing a crossing for horse-drawn coaches (and even including facilities for changing horses).

And yes: we did indeed check that the date on the press release was not April 1st. A very happy 20th anniversary to the Channel Tunnel! You truly are amazing.