Ten interesting Channel Tunnel facts in its 30th birthday week as staff describe 'miracles'

It has been 30 years since the Channel Tunnel opened Credit: PA

30 years since the first Eurotunnel train sped through the Channel Tunnel two of its long-serving workers have been describing the thrills and challenges of being part of the Folkestone to Calais service.

Daniel Hughes says he's amazed by how his team can work 'miracles' when things don't quite go to plan.

He's been with the company since the 32-mile route became operational on the 6th May 1994 when he started out as a crew member.

The Head of Infrastructure now leads a team of 400 staff that keep the key transport link running, when trains or systems occasionally break down.

Daniel Hughes explains how AI technology is being used in the future as Eurotunnel celebrates its 30th birthday

Daniel said, "No matter what it is they are almost the exciting times because of the recovery.

"I've witnessed what I can only describe as my team working miracles. You can watch an event unfold impacting the business.

"Everyone comes together and you go from a challenging situation to all of a sudden it's back to normal.

"I can reflect back on the last 30 years and how much we've evolved but we're now at a critical point.

"We're now working on digital technology. We have some high resolution cameras installed on trains so that we can target areas of maintenance at a less frequent rate to minimise the disturbance on our on our availability of our of our service."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…

Ten things you might not know about the Channel Tunnel

  • The journey time from Folkestone to Calais takes 35 minutes

  • The tunnel does leak but it's all pumped away as part of its design

  • The section of the tunnel which goes below the sea is 25 metres long

  • It's 75 metres deep...a long way down

  • £4.65 billion was spent building the tunnel

  • The late Queen Elizabeth II and the President of France François Mitterrand opened the tunnel on the 6th May 1994

  • Each train is the size of seven football pitches

  • Since 2000, over four million dogs and cats have been transported through the Channel Tunnel

  • 26 million red roses

    travel through every Valentine’s Day to the UK

  • There are three tunnels. One for LeShuttle, one for Eurostar while the third is a service tunnel

Train Crew Manager Samantha Turk describes one of her more challenging shifts

Samantha Turk's been with the organisation for 24 years having started in the Duty Free shop.

She later became a crew member, then a driver and now is responsible for staff.

The Train Crew Manager said, "Every day can be completely different, and that is the thing with the job, you never know what's going to happen.

"Recently, I had two passenger that had forgotten all their travel essentials, their iPads, their travel tickets, their passports, and we had to make sure we got all their documents back out to them into the UK so they could travel safely afterwards.

"I have had a full tourist evacuation in the tunnel. It's fair to say it was one of the first big passenger evacuation transfers. It went very well."

The Eurotunnel site in Folkestone, Kent Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

Samantha says the company has supported her over the decades, especially when she had children.

"I've been here 24 years and I feel that they've looked after me from the beginning", she added.

"I was young when I started. I've had my family. They've looked after me and I've had my family and now I've gone on to be able to look forward to promotions.

"Certainly in our train crew department, we've all worked here quite a long time. And it is like coming in and seeing your family and your friends."

Have you heard our podcast Talking Politics? Every week Tom, Robert and Anushka dig into the biggest issues dominating the political agenda…