Channel Tunnel After a Hundred Years of Talk

In 1919, a tunnel under the English Channel “has been brought much nearer to practical realization.” It wouldn’t be opened until 1994.

Supposedly early 1919 had all the elements going for construction, now that World War I had recently ended:

Generally speaking, however, it is taken as an accepted fact that opposition to the tunnel is no longer serious on military or naval grounds, and that, as the French Government has always been sympathetic to the scheme, it only remains for the British Government to press the button for work to begin without delay. According to some enthusiasts, not even Parliamentary sanction is required.

However, the 75 year delay after that point perhaps shouldn’t have come as a surprise, considering that already it had been in the works for 45 years:

The first work was done on the tunnel in 1874, when a French company sank an experimental shaft in France. In 1881 the Southeastern Railway Company’s Chairman, Sir E. Watkin, obtained an act permitting him to sink a shaft on the English side. A boring was driven for 2,105 yards toward the Channel, when in 1882 the construction was stopped by the Government. Since then the scheme has been in abeyance, but in 1913 the Government called for reports from naval and military authorities with a view to permitting the construction if they were favorable. Then the war came and nothing more could be done.

But something more was ultimately done, 75 years later. Just goes to show: slow and steady wins the race. Very slow, apparently.

 

Channel Tunnel After a Hundred Years of Talk: Plans for Railway Tubes Between England and France Are Maturing Now That the Two Countries Have Reached a Decision Channel Tunnel After a Hundred Years of Talk (PDF)

Published: Sunday, April 13, 1919

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Written by Jesse

April 11th, 2019 at 7:55 pm

Posted in Development

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