The 150 year old dream to link the European mainland by tunnel under the Strait of Dover with the British Isles nears reality today with plans ready to pierce a 40-mile electric rail link between the two at an estimated cost of GBP130M become the longest tunnel in the world.
Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick arrives at offices of Channel Tunnel Company. Original bond of Channel Tunnel Company displayed.
Man enters old channel tunnel. Scenes inside tunnel. Name and date 1880 inscribed on tunnel wall.
Model of "Interport" terminus building, route driver will take to place vehicle on rail truck. Model trains, travel shot through tunnel.
Survey of channel bed. Samples of rock, silt, brought to surface, examined. Location and depth checked and recorded.
TODAY'S CROSS-CHANNEL TRANSPORT.
Cars board ferry at Dover, ferry leaves for France, ferry arrives at Dover, lorries and goods train leave ferry.
Departure board for France at London Airport, people board 'Air France' plane, plane takes off. BEA plane lands at London Airport from France, passengers leave. BEA planes take off for France.
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Background: The 150 year old dream to link the European mainland by tunnel under the Strait of Dover with the British Isles nears reality today with plans ready to pierce a 40-mile electric rail link between the two at an estimated cost of GBP130M become the longest tunnel in the world.
At the City of London office of the Channel Tunnel Company, an international study group led by Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick agree on a tunnel plan for two steel-lined tubes each with a single electrified rail track for passenger and vehicle trains.
They meet among the Company's files - a reminder of past endeavour to amass capital for the 1880 pilot tunnel, a project that went no further than 2026 yards at Dover before British military objections put an end to it.
A major problem again is to amass capital. The study group reveal bankers, approached to back part of the GBP130M bill, are reported to be demanding so much return on their money that little profit would be left for British and French Railways running the tunnel.
Both Railways, owned by the State, are deep in deficit. The hope is both Governments will take the brunt of costs over the seven years needed to complete the project and perhaps half a century needed to mortise investment and the banker charges.
Some London reports hint that UK Prime Minister Macmillan and President de Gaulle of France in their pre-Summit conversations Mar.12-13 might have time for a word agreeing on a joint subsidy for the project for prestige value and for boosting exports and tourism.
The plan shown with a model of the new UK channel port - named Interport - rules out a motor road under the Strait because of high ventilation costs and accident dangers. Freight trucks and cars will go on specially-designed trains.
Under a gigantic roof two sets of rail lines will be for fast through-trains to and from the Continent. Ten platforms with ramps leading to the trains will carry the road transport. The hope is to deal with as many as 400 vehicles an hour in one direction.
Meanwhile geologists survey the bottom of the Channel, probing examples of sand, rock, chalk and mud. From a research beat, an echo sounder lowered to the sea-bed gathers information down to a depth of 200 feet. From another boat, divers gather samples on the sea bed while engineers on the chalk cliffs near Dover sink a trial borehole - one of six - for further surveys - a mere few hundred yards inland from the tunnel workings of 1880.