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WMRG: The Longest Undersea Tunnel in the World. The Channel Tunnel: Disconnection from Europe, Earlier Attempts to Reconnect and the Reconnection

12 December 2023
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Event type:
Evening meeting, Virtual event, Regional Group
Organised by:
Geological Society Events, West Midlands Regional Group
Hybrid In Person at Mott MacDonald, Birmingham and Virtual via Zoom
Event status:

Time and location

12 December 2023 | Mott MacDonald, 10 Livery St, Birmingham B3 3NU / Zoom Video Conference | 6:00pm refreshments and networking | 6:30pm start.

Event details

December’s meeting will be the West Midlands Regional Group Annual General Meeting followed by the evening lecture.

The Channel Tunnel is a 50.46 km railway tunnel that connects Folkestone (UK) with Coquelles (France) beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is 75 m deep below the sea bed and 115 m below sea level. The tunnel has the longest underwater section of any tunnel in the world, and was the third longest railway tunnel in the world. It opened in 1994.

The talk will start at the time the UK was attached to mainland Europe by the Weald-Artois land bridge; the impacts of the Pleistocene and our disconnection from Europe; the earliest ideas for a channel tunnel from the 1800s onwards; Col. Beaumont’s successful tunnelling attempt in 1875; the 27 other attempts/false starts to construct a tunnel, objected to by the Military; the penultimate attempt in the early 1970s; the various studies required for the present tunnels; their route through the Chalk Marl; and the construction of the Channel Tunnel between 1987 and 1991, including the very large spoil disposal lagoons at Shakespeare Cliffs.

Channel Tunnel

Coloured Geological Section Portal to Portal, The Geological Society


Roger Maddrell (Managing Director, Maddrell Consultancy Services Ltd.)

Roger has over fifty years' worldwide experience as a Civil Engineering Consultant, having worked on projects in over 50 countries. Roger’s work is principally in the design and construction of ports/harbours and coastal works, including dredging & reclamation. This work involves geotechnical aspects, hydraulics, and has included river engineering, dams, mathematical and physical modelling, environmental requirements and contracts – basically, anything to do with water. 

Roger was Eurotunnel’s Chief Engineer (Marine) for the Channel Tunnel, being involved in the project from the start to its completion. He was also a Consultant for the Oresund Link between Denmark and Sweden. He has his own company, working almost exclusively as an Expert Witness, and is a Mediator and Adjudicator.


To reserve a place please e-mail the committee at [email protected]. We will respond in advance of the meeting with the relevant log-in details.