The Chunnel:: The Amazing Story of the Undersea Crossing of the English Channel

Drew Fetherston, Author Crown Publishing Group (NY) $35 (512p) ISBN 978-0-8129-2198-4
Fetherston, formerly a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, has set himself the formidable task of trying to unravel decades of complex financial, political and technical maneuverings that resulted in the 1993 opening of the tunnel beneath the English Channel linking France and England. Drawing on extensive research, he successfully conveys the endless financial problems that beset the project, caused in part by the Thatcher government's refusal to consider public funding. After private financing was tenuously in place, the different engineering practices of French and British tunnelers and overwhelming safety considerations led to more costly delays. Fetherston leavens the wealth of exhaustive and numbing detail with a history of failed 19th-century tunnel projects, as well as the story of the 1959 Channel Study Group, organized by a couple of American businessmen, that inspired the final, amazing feat of engineering. Also included are informative anecdotes, based on interviews the author conducted, of the leading designers, engineers and businesspeople who worked on the project. At last in use but still in debt, the Chunnel experienced a passenger train fire in 1996. Photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 978-0-609-00050-2
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