Once upon a time the only way a person could travel between England and France was by plane or boat.
In 1994 that all changed with the creation of the Channel Tunnel which made train travel to mainland Europe easier than ever before. It allowed people to take their car abroad without the hassle of boarding a ferry which could be slow and sometimes bumpy or even travel from the heart of London to France in just over two hours. It reduced the need to go through congested airports or lengthy security queues.
The Channel Tunnel was a great advance in rail technology and showed the true capability that the sector possessed. It showed that even something as daunting as a coastline could not stop the railways being connected. The project managed to bring together England and France and opened Europe up to Brits who wanted to explore the continent on the railways.
It all began in 1802 when a French mining engineer known as Albert Mathieu put forward the idea of building a tunnel under the English Channel. However, it was not until 1875 when The Channel Tunnel Company Ltd actually started preliminary trials to see if what was seen as a wild idea could actually be delivered. It would take over another 100 years before the plans were put in motion for the tunnel to be constructed.
A major milestone was reached in February 1986 when British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and French president Francois Mitterrand signed the Treaty of Canterbury. This agreement confirmed the deal for an existing undersea tunnel between the two nations and is also a modern and recent modification of the borders of England and France.
Tunnelling work began on both sides of the English Channel in 1988 and broke through two years later. By 1994 the tunnel had been officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II and President Mitterrand signalling in a new era of travel for both freight, commercial and business passengers. A further development in 2007 saw the introduction of High Speed 1 which connects London to the track.
Prior to this passengers would have to board at Folkestone before making the journey to Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais. The introduction of a link to London meant that more people than ever before could visit France and move further afield through Europe.
The introduction of the Eurostar meant that passengers could hop at the newly refurbished St Pancras Station in the heart of the English capital and within just over two hours be at Paris' Gare Du Nord. It also allowed people to visit the Belgian capital of Brussels and other parts of the nation such as Antwerp.
However, one of the main selling points of the service was a direct line to Marne la Vallee-Chessy which served Disneyland. Passengers with young children would be able to enjoy their route without the hassle of getting their youngsters through airport security and then having to negotiate travel from Charles de Gaulle airport to the theme park.
Despite competition from low cost airlines the relaxing sight of the scenery through rural England and France makes the Eurostar a joy to travel on.