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JOHN WYNN

MEMORY LANE

HeavyTorque Issue Four: Memory Lane

THE FIRST CHANNEL TUNNEL

IT’S ONE OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE MODERN WORLD. 20 MILLION PASSENGERS, 21 MILLION TONNES OF FREIGHT – EACH YEAR. MARGO COLE TALKS TO JOHN WYNN ABOUT A JOB THAT WAS THE NEWS BEFORE SANGATTE AND ‘SWARMS’

Three decades ago, the UK and French governments were close to a new Entente Cordiale. The previous year, 1984, both had agreed to invite private developers to submit proposals – to construct and operate a fixed cross-Channel link. Provided it could be done without any public money.

That historic pact green-lit the eventual £4.65bn Tunnel, opened in 1994, now carrying 50,000 passengers and 54,000t of freight a day. Yet readers, whose memories stretch a little further back than 1984, may recall a previous attempt 10 years earlier to connect France and Britain. That began in November 1973: the two countries signed a treaty, intending to finance the undersea project with government-guaranteed loans. But, just over a year later, the scheme was abandoned when the UK’s new Labour government pulled out, claiming it no longer wanted to finance the project.

By that stage, a consortium known as Cross Channel Contractors had been awarded the contract to build it. They’d already commissioned two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) to begin excavating a service tunnel which would run between the two proposed tunnels. Robbins, from America, built a TBM to dig from the French side, while Gravesend-based Robert L. Priestley made one for the British end. Both machines had been manufactured and delivered by the time the project was cancelled.

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Announcement

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It is with regret, that the HeavyTorque team have decided to take a stand based on an industry-wide ‘blind eye’ to the waste in the magazine and periodicals business.

HeavyTorque (#15, July 2018) was the final issue to grace the shop shelves, both on the High Street and across the travel network. As part of our onward strategy to adapt, HeavyTorque will now be distributed exclusively through controlled circulation and available through printed subscription.

Please note, this change will only affect newsstand purchasers. There will be no change for our loyal print subscribers.

Why the newsstand change? Quite simply, we can no longer (in good conscience) participate in a distribution programme that creates such an inherent waste of our precious natural resources – and money.

For those of you who have enjoyed HeavyTorque from the newsstand, we sincerely appreciate your business – and we would hope that you’ve enjoyed the magazine enough to consider a direct subscription?

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