top of page

Tunnel Under English Channel Announced

Feb. 6, 1964 - The British and French Governments announced today that they had agreed to build a railroad tunnel under the English Channel. The historic decision comes 162 years after the original idea for a Channel link — a carriageway in a bored tunnel — was presented to Napoleon by a French engineer. The tunnel is expected to be a powerful stimulus to trade between Britain and the Continent. It could also mean closer political ties. In the 13 months since President Charles de Gaulle vetoed Britain’s application to join the European Economic Community, the two countries have been cooperating in specialized fields, including a project to build a supersonic airliner.

The Governments gave no indication of when construction would start on the tunnel. Financial and legal problems remain, and a technical decision must be made on the type of tunnel — one formed by laying preconstructed sections of tube into a trench in the channel bed, or one formed by boring into rock beneath the bed. The immersed-tube concept is being employed in the giant Chesapeake Bay bridge and tunnel project. That project, scheduled for completion this spring, will connect Cape Charles, on Virginia’s isolated eastern shore, with the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area. If this method is selected, it is expected that American technology will be called on to a large extent.


bottom of page