The Channel Tunnel is one of the biggest engineering projects ever undertaken in the UK. Opened in 1994, it took more than five years to complete, with more than 13,000 workers from England and France collaborating to realise an impressive vision; the tunnel has since been named one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
The Channel Tunnel was opened as a joint venture between the UK and France to initially move goods faster and to provide more direct travel for people, strengthening the economic ties between Britain and the rest of Europe.
A huge construction project like this needed the best in class measuring equipment to lower the margin of error and to make sure the project was as accurate as possible. Leica Geosystems’ equipment was selected to assist in this momentous build. Back in 1989 Electronic Wild T2000 Theodolites and Wild DI2000 EDM’s were used for all triangulation work, Wild Survey equipment was also used to transfer the control – point network to the tunnel.
In the Spring of 1989, the Channel Tunnel specialists produced their first world record by driving the underground service tunnel forward a distance of 887m in a single month. In a total tunnel length of 8km, the vertical error was only 12mm. Wild surveying instruments made a substantial contribution to these achievements.
Following the success of the first phase of the Channel Tunnel build, Leica Geosystems was also involved in phase 2 of the £3.3bn Channel Tunnel Rail Link program. This project incorporated extensive tunnelling under existing infrastructure in London. SMS messaging was used to inform the operators of any excessive movement and data was published to a website for general viewing.