However, these ideas remained a distant reality given the technological challenges posed by such a project. Nonetheless speculation thrived on the issue especially throughout the sixties and the seventies.
It became clear that the only viable method of bridging up Great Britain to mainland Europe was a tunnel under the sea. The idea seemed simple at first. The project required the boring of three distinct tunnels from one side of the English Channel to the other. Tunnelling or more specifically boring had been carried out extensively even before the Channel Tunnel project so technical expertise was available on the issue. One thing that was noticeable about the Channel Tunnel project upfront was the fact that boring had never been taken up on such a massive scale before this project.
While the Channel Tunnel project can be seen as a major achievement in terms of technical progress, by any other measure, it has been seen as a pure project management failure. There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that the Channel Tunnel project was less than a Pyrrhic victory. The initial costing for the project was estimated at some £3.5 billion but the eventual execution cost the project team some £9 billion. There was little change in the overall scope of the project but there were myriad changes in the details of the project scope. It was decided initially that the Channel Tunnel would consist of a 32 mile (51.5 kilometres) tunnel under the sea to serve two railway links separately. These two main railway tracks under the sea would be supported by a smaller tunnel in the middle of these tunnels to service shuttle trains carrying vehicles. Once construction commenced, it became apparent that air conditioning was more of a necessity than an auxiliary for the project.