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Tunnel between Ireland and UK?

  • 31-07-2008 10:00am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    Are there any reports or is there any (very) long-term intention to build a tunnel to Britain that could take trains, trucks and cars?

    I've found this discussion, but it's a few years old: http://www.railusers.ie/forum/archive/index.php/t-342.html

    Also, I seem to remember an article in the Irish Independent talking about plans to have such a tunnel built by 2050.

    Any opinion and/or links etc welcome!


Comments

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,575 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011


    Theres problems no matter what way its planned... rail - we use different gauges so they'd need to build new lines from the off at our end of things unless you wanted the train to terminate shortly after coming out of the tunnel. Road tunnels that distance would be dodgy. If its done from the south coast here the rail network in Wales it'd link to is terrible.

    I can't see it being workable, to be honest.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,858 ✭✭✭paulm17781


    I doubt it will happen. It would be the biggest undersea tunnel in the world and the most expensive. We're a tiny, near insignificant country on a global scale, it's not worth the investment and I don't see any government taking it seriously, as much as I'd like them to.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,685 ✭✭✭Rawr


    There has been rumours alright, but I've never heard anything solid.
    If it were to go ahead, it would involve a huge expense and would be one of the longest of it's type ever built (I guess that depends where the connection is made, I'm not sure)

    One major barrier to this idea is the fact that on the island of Ireland, we have a different rail gauge than most of the world (including UK).
    The UK uses the International Standard Gauge, while Ireland uses a unique Irish Gauge (where the rails are a little further apart).

    Possible solutions to this, would either be a change of trains at the tunnel terminus, or relaying all Irish tracks (and train sets) to Standard Gauge (or adapting the main lines for both).

    Interesting idea though, and would be great to see in my own life-time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 876 ✭✭✭woodseb


    paulm17781 wrote: »
    . We're a tiny, near insignificant country on a global scale, it's not worth the investment and I don't see any government taking it seriously, as much as I'd like them to.

    bit of a contradiction there:confused:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,858 ✭✭✭paulm17781


    woodseb wrote: »
    bit of a contradiction there:confused:

    Fact vs. opinion. Reality vs. fantasy. Economics vs. romance. :)


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 26,567 ✭✭✭✭Fratton Fred


    The UK channel tunnel trains don't currently go any firther than Lpondon and on their own tracks, so I can;t see too much of a problem with gauge. Le Shuttle, the train that carries cars and lorries through only goes through the tunnel as well.

    The biggest drawback would be the need I guess. It would require a hell of a lot of traffic to make it pay. I can't imagine irish Ferries, Stenaline and Ryanair being too excited about it either.

    Who knows though, using the port tunnel as a basis, it would only take about forty years to build :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,518 ✭✭✭Hecate


    This has been discussed, on and off, since about 1895:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Sea_Tunnel


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 556 ✭✭✭OTK


    Having linked Sweden and Denmark with a 15km train/road bridge/tunnel combo, the Danes are building a new 18km road/rail bridge to Denmark for €5b. They are also looking at building a bridge from Aarhus to Zealand in two sections of 25km and 16km for a rough €10b. They have also built a 7km bridge linking Zealand and Sprogø that cost the equivalent of €2.8b 10 years ago

    Northern Ireland is 19km from Scotland at its closest point. Belfast-Glasgow-Edinburgh would be useful.

    Dublin-Holyhead is closer to 100km. Wexford-Wales is about 80km. So these links look unlikely in the medium term.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,858 ✭✭✭paulm17781


    OTK wrote: »
    Northern Ireland is 19km from Scotland at its closest point. Belfast-Glasgow-Edinburgh would be useful.

    Wow, I didn't realize it was that close. That said, I think to be effective, you'd need Dublin - London type thing. I really can't see it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann




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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,366 ✭✭✭IIMII


    paulm17781 wrote: »
    Wow, I didn't realize it was that close. That said, I think to be effective, you'd need Dublin - London type thing. I really can't see it.
    You can virtually see Stranraer station from Whitehead station, if it wasn't for a wee hill on the Scottish side. A good bridge and ye'd be flying, just not very fast when you got to the other side of the Irish sea

    Pity the Stranraer line is so brutal, not to mention the roads from there to Ayr, and then you have the whole issue of the doubtful benefits of such a costly project to Scotland which is nowhere near the channel tunnel

    As you say you be looking for a direct geographical line from Dublin to London to get through the Channel tunnel.

    If you were going to go to the trouble of building a tunnel or whatever across the water, it wouldn't be for the sake of terminating there. It would be to get direct fast access to the mainland, opening up the possability of winning deep water shipping business too because it's never pay for itself on passenger usage


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,193 ✭✭✭✭Victor


    If you are spending €10-20bn on a bridge or tunnel, spending €1-2bn on regauging and rolling stock isn't all that much.

    While passenger services on the High Speed 1 currently stop at London, freight services are operating from the Midlands and Manchester to the continent.




  • If this dream ever came to be, then re-gauging isn't an issue as logically all trains from the UK would terminate in Dublin at a dedicated station then passengers change to go to their final destination.

    Similar with freight, a couple of UK gauge/dual gauge lines within the freight yard as containers are switched between trains.

    Personally I think that a combination of bridges & causeways would be more cost effective as they could include a 4 lane road as well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,193 ✭✭✭✭Victor




  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 ✭✭✭DWCommuter


    Hecate wrote: »
    This has been discussed, on and off, since about 1895:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Sea_Tunnel

    And it will be discussed on and off until (and perhaps beyond) 2095.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 ✭✭✭DWCommuter


    dolanbaker wrote: »
    If this dream ever came to be, then re-gauging isn't an issue as logically all trains from the UK would terminate in Dublin at a dedicated station then passengers change to go to their final destination.

    Deleted the rest of your post as it was reminding me of H.G. Wells.:D As for the above bit, just imagine rocketing in through a tunnel to the much vaunted grand central station that is to be Stephens Green? ****ing hell lads!

    "You have now reached the longest established building site in the world. It has kept 20 Indian security guards in a job for 5 years. Ignore the signs for Metro and DART Tunnel. They were put there after a consultative process involving several gealtacht micro enterprises. The actual systems were aborted in line with fiscal policy, but remain part of a plan like the DART did for 12 years, many moons ago. Please walk up the steps and then walk, crawl, struggle or simply guess your way to onward transport through a quagmire of road traffic. Thank you for taking the trans Irish Sea express. Welcome to hell."




  • DWCommuter wrote: »

    Deleted the rest of your post as it was reminding me of H.G. Wells.:D As for the above bit, just imagine rocketing in through a tunnel to the much vaunted grand central station that is to be Stephens Green? ****ing hell lads!

    "You have now reached the longest established building site in the world. It has kept 20 Indian security guards in a job for 5 years. Ignore the signs for Metro and DART Tunnel. They were put there after a consultative process involving several gealtacht micro enterprises. The actual systems were aborted in line with fiscal policy, but remain part of a plan like the DART did for 12 years, many moons ago. Please walk up the steps and then walk, crawl, struggle or simply guess your way to onward transport through a quagmire of road traffic. Thank you for taking the trans Irish Sea express. Welcome to hell."

    Sure, it's a dream and is unlikely ever to be fulfilled!. Planes & ferries will be the present & future!

    PS I'm sure H G Wells had already come up with it! :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,035 ✭✭✭afatbollix


    if its a gap of 18 km to scotland they should just build a bridge and build a road / train... and toll it... and build a motorway the whole way over to glasgo and by the time it would be built there would be a motor way to dublin :)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 556 ✭✭✭OTK


    Maybe the Irish Sea is too deep for a bridge. The Orseund bridge has pillars over 200m but that might not be enough. Does anyone know?




  • Most of it appears to be less than 200m. Still a bit of a fantasy, either over or under!

    IrishSeaReliefMap.jpg


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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,570 ✭✭✭✭loyatemu


    someday the population densities and engineering technology will make it feasible. I expect to be feeding the worms long before then though.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 556 ✭✭✭OTK


    Belfast and Glasgow are comparable in size with Malmo and Copenhagen




  • Bottom line - will there be enough traffic to justify it!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,404 ✭✭✭dogmatix


    Whatever about the economics and infrastructural aspects of the project, the main hurdle to be overcome would be constructing the thing and the geology of the terrain it would have to go through.

    I suspect that the underlying rock would be a lot tougher then the clays and chalks of the channel tunnel. And the tunnel would be going deeper then the channel tunnel so you would have to contend with increased prssures also.

    So I don't think they would go for a tunneling option but maybe construct water tight sections on land, float them out, sink them to the sea bed and so on.

    I think there would be enough traffic to make it viable, given the amount of air and sea traffic between the two countries.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,772 ✭✭✭Lennoxschips


    If a tunnel between London and Paris can't break even then I don't see how a tunnel to Ireland would ever be economically feasible.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 556 ✭✭✭OTK


    National infrastructure projects are rarely designed to break even, in the narrow sense that their operating revenues should pay back the capital investment. Being economically feasible is not the same as breaking even.

    Eurotunnel is now profitable, although the company has £2.8b of debt. The 50km channel tunnel was built entirely with private investment and obviously brings huge business benefits to both the UK and France in return for their investment of nothing at all. There are also clear environmental benefits to trains over planes.

    There are several ferry routes linking NI and scotland, 13 return flights a day Dublin-Scotland, and 13 flights a day from NI to Scotland. Obviously there is plenty of latent demand as many Scots and northen irish are interrelated.

    AADT on the Oresund bridge is only 17,000 road vehicles.


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