1. A van is a vehicle used especially for carrying goods, which is smaller than a truck and has a roof and usually no windows at the sides.
2. The car and the van collided head-on in thick fog.
3. An unusual 32-feet paper bridge was built across a narrow canyon in Nevada. For testing it, the engineers chose a truck, which weighted 12,000 lb (pounds). This truck drove quite safely across the paper bridge.
4. The development of the high-speed TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) has led to the construction of several new lines and increased the rate of rail passenger traffic. TGV can travel at speeds up to 320 km/h on specially built track, but the trains must travel much slower on conventional track. The high-speed TGV travels between Paris and Lyon in only 2 hours, compared with 4 hours for conventional service.
5. The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has rejected a Euros 3.2 billion project to build a 79km maglev line between Düsseldorf and Dortmund in favor of a conventional rail project called MetroExpress S-Bahn.
6. In the 1830s, much was spoken about the necessity of constructing the Moscow-St.Petersburg mainline. Various projects were proposed by Pravdin, Safonov, Muravjov, Abaza, but all of them were rejected.
7. The idea of connecting the Isles of Great Britain to mainland Europe by means of a long suspension bridge was rejected and the proposed project was not realized.
8. Unlike conventional trains, the turbo train does not have a separate locomotive; its turbine power unit is small enough to be built into a passenger railcar.
9. In the U.S., modern passenger railcars are usually 85 feet long. In continental Europe, the standard length of railcars for conventional locomotive-hauled main-line service is now 86 feet 7 inches, but the cars of some high-speed train-sets are shorter.
10. Rates of the Trans-Siberian Mainline construction were very fast despite the fact that the railroad went through swamps, thick taiga, crossed major rivers and huge mountains.
Ex. 12. Before reading the text, make sure you know the following words and phrases:
| • seabed – морское дно
• to drill – бурить
• soil – грунт
|| • to shore up – поддерживать, укреплять
• concrete liner – бетонный тюбинг
• material removal – удаление грунта
Since 1802 there have been various proposals to connect the British and French coasts separated by the English Channel (or La Manche as they call it in France). For several reasons, these proposals were rejected. Only in the late 1980s, it became possible to realize the dearest wish of the Europeans.
Tunneling between England and France was a major engineering challenge. Fifteen thousand workers were employed to accomplish this unprecedented project.
The prime contractor for the construction was the Anglo-French TransManche Link, a consortium of 10 construction companies and 5 banks of the two countries. Tunneling started in 1988 and lasted for two years.
Tunneling operations were conducted simultaneously from the French and British coasts. The tunnelling companies were Graham Fagg of the United Kingdom and Philippe Cozette of France, and they achieved a tunneling rate of 426 m in one week. A total of 7 million tons of spoil were excavated.
Engineers used large tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that combined drilling, material removal, and the process of shoring up the soft tunnel walls with a concrete liner. The French side used five tunnel boring machines, the English side used six. In contrast to the English machines, which were simply given alphanumeric1 names, the French tunneling machines were all named after women: Brigitte, Europa, Catherine, Virginie, Pascaline, Séverine.
In December 1990, the French and British TBMs met in the middle. Later, the French TBM was dismantled while the UK TBM was simply turned aside and abandoned2.
The tunnel was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterrand in a ceremony held in Calais (France) on May 6, 1994. But it did not go into full operation until December 1994.
The Channel Tunnel consists of three parallel tunnels:
• two 7.6-metre diameter rail tunnels, 30 metres apart, 50 kilometres in length;
• a 4.8-metre diameter service tunnel between the two main tunnels. By means of passages, it is connected to the main tunnels at regular intervals. It allows maintenance workers to access the tunnel complex and provides a safe route for escape during emergencies.
The Channel Tunnel is one of the world’s most famous tunnels. It is 50 km long, of which 39 m are undersea. The average depth is 45 m underneath the seabed.
Four types of train services operate on the Tunnel:
• Eurostar, a high speed passenger service. This connects London with Paris and Brussels.
• Eurotunnel shuttle trains. These carry cars, coaches, and vans; passengers stay with their vehicles. It takes about eight minutes to roll the vehicle onto the railcar.
• Eurotunnel freight shuttle trains. These carry trucks on open railcars, with the lorry drivers traveling in separate passenger coaches. Freight shuttles can carry 28 automobiles.
• Eurotunnel freight trains. These trains carry conventional rail freight or containerized freight between Great Britain and the Continent.
In 2008, over 9 million passengers traveled through the tunnel on Eurostar and 7 million people on shuttle trains.
Rail freight carried through the Channel Tunnel was over 15 million tons in 2008.
A journey through the tunnel by Eurostar lasts about 20 minutes; a shuttle train journey totals about 35 minutes. Each train travels at 130 km/h when under the sea.
The construction of the Channel Tunnel was not only an unheard-of engineering challenge but also one of the most expensive projects – the total costs were around £10 billion.
The American Society of Civil Engineers has declared the tunnel to be one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World.
Notes: 1alphanumeric – алфавитно-цифровой;
2was turned aside and abandoned – зд: отвезли подальше от тоннеля и забросили.