By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (December 1, 2022) – In Issue 2022-213 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, we make a unique train connection.

Under the Sea

Not since the last ice age, which ended about 12,000 years ago, could one travel between Britain and mainland Europe without sailing on a ship, or more recently flying.  Some did swim across, but they were in the vast minority.

The Chunnel enabled that connection.  Boring from the two sides – England and France — was completed on December 1, 1990, when they met halfway, and the workers broke out a few bottles of champagne to celebrate (it is Europe).  The 31.4-mile tunnel opened to traffic on May 6, 1994. 

It is a railroad tunnel – for the high-speed Eurostar (limited to only 100 miles per hour in the tunnel), for folks driving across, but in the Chunnel their cars travel in rail cars, for freight, etc. 

Before the Chunnel, the fastest way to get across the English Channel was via hovercrafts.  They are a cool experience, but your teeth fillings need to be solid, as all the vibration during the crossing could un-lodge them… 

This nautical map by de la Rochette from 1994 covers the sea from the English Channel to the Bay of Biscay.

English Channel – 1994 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.