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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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HTA Yearbook 2018

Published in March 2018, this fantastic 220 page, A4 Landscape Yearbook, designed and published by HeavyTorque, reflects the continued growth, and achievements of the Heavy Transport Association (HTA). Printed full-colour throughout, this is a must-read for those with an interest in the heavy and specialist transportation sector – very much recognised as the ‘bible of the industry’.

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