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IRELAND UK RAIL TUNNEL

The resurrection of a project first mooted as long ago as 1897 to join Ireland to “the mainland” by way of a tunnel under the Irish Sea is firmly back on the agenda, The Sunday Times reports.

“This is the one big transport link missing in the EU,” said Richard Lunnis, a consultant engineer with Capita Symonds. “It’s a serious proposition and should happen when economic conditions allow. It would require significant political will and be a major challenge, but engineers, like me, enjoy a challenge.”

The article is accompanied by a map showing the most likely routes for such a link, which would most likely be a rail tunnel. Antrim to the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland is only 20km and Larne to Stranraer would be 38km. Although longer, Dublin to Holyhead at 84km and Rosslare to Fishguard at 80km could be preferred because of their proximity to larger centres of population at both ends. Apparently, in construction terms, all are feasible.

Lunnis costed the project at €23 billion but argues the payback could be enormous given the level of trade and passengers across the Irish Sea. Last year 3.9m people flew to Britain from Dublin – more than 50% of the 7.57m passengers who travelled from the airport. A rail tunnel would allow someone to reach Paris by rail in around five hours.

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