By Terry Gourvish
Commissioned via the cupboard workplace and utilizing hitherto untapped British govt files, this booklet offers an in-depth research of the profitable venture of 1986-94. This is a vibrant portrayal of the complexities of quadripartite decision-making (two nations, plus the private and non-private sectors), revealing new insights into the position of the British and French Governments within the procedure. this significant ebook, written by means of Britain’s major delivery historian, should be crucial analyzing for all these attracted to PPPs, British and European economic history and diplomacy. The development of the Channel Tunnel has been certainly one of Europe’s significant tasks and a sworn statement to British-French and public-private region collaboration. even if, Eurotunnel’s present monetary difficulty presents a sobering backcloth for an exam of the British Government’s long term flirtation with the undertaking, and, specifically, the sooner Tunnel undertaking within the Nineteen Sixties and early Seventies, which was once deserted through the British executive in 1975.
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Additional resources for Britain and the Channel Tunnel (Government Official History Series)
Indeed, the promoters’ failure to convince either the Government or the media of the scheme’s financial viability was a major weakness and played into the hands of the (still considerable number of) opponents. ’ The preferred course of action was to create an international company to finance, construct and own the tunnel. The company would be highly geared, with 80 per cent of the capital in the form of fixed-interest bonds (6 per cent, with a convertibility option, was suggested), and it would require numerous ‘exemptions, guarantees and assurances’ from the two governments.
Subsequent co-operation among the competing commercial interests provided some hope for supporters of a tunnel, who included (in later life) William Gladstone. The Submarine Continental purchased the Channel Tunnel Co. in 1886 following an increase of capital to £275,000 and adopted the latter’s name in 1887. All this made little difference in practice, however. 36 More determined efforts were made to revive the scheme in the Edwardian period, when the Liberals were returned to power. Interrailway rivalry had been dissipated with the merger of the South Eastern and London Chatham & Dover companies in 1899.
65 It is true that the costs were scaled down when the General Manager, Walker, first appeared before the Committee in July. In the intervening three months he had been informed by the Nord Railway Co. that the continental railways would be prepared to receive (and even build) rolling stock to the smaller, English loading gauge. 66 Nevertheless, Walker’s overall lack of enthusiasm did not go unnoticed. He maintained that the Southern would incur a net loss of £450,000 in the first year of the tunnel’s operation, and there was a lively debate with one of the Committee members, the banker Sir Henry Strakosch, about the traffic forecasts which the railway manager favoured.