Top Gear drives the Channel Tunnel
Chris Froome has just cycled through, but we were the first in a production car...
Posted: 07 Jul 2014
Through the walls comes a deep rumble. Either side of us the trains are blasting forward at up to 99mph, pushing along a bow wave of air as they go. If it weren't released through ducts in the roof, the shockwave would surge through the tunnels, exiting with a sonic boom strong enough to smash windows. At the other end of the carriages, there's a vacuum as the air is sucked away. If we were to open an adjoining door at the wrong moment, we'd be hoovered onto the tracks.
Thankfully, they're all sealed. But if an emergency occurred, rescue crews would arrive from both ends of this road in purpose-built vehicles at speeds of 50mph. They even have an autopilot mode, so they can squeeze past each other without slowing down. Once at the scene, they could evacuate 900 train passengers in three minutes or under, even in thick smoke.