THE CHANNEL FIXED LINK : LE PROJET DU SIÈCLE
Graham M. Winch
If the British and French really have some interest and aim in common, they will find a way of surmounting all those much-trumpeted cultural and traditional differences (Sir Nicholas Henderson, chair of Channel Tunnel Group and former British ambassador to France).
This case study provides a description and analysis of the Channel Tunnel project with the aim of stimulating class discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of the project management of this extraordinary construction project. The data are drawn from both an extensive review of secondary sources, and from interviews conducted with key informants towards the end of 1993 within TML, and during 1995 within Eurotunnel.
The case study will present the background to the project, and the complexities of the financial arrangements, before investigating the management of the project and the organisation of TML.
There are few projects against which there exists a deeper and more enduring prejudice than the construction of a railway tunnel between Dover and Calais. Again and again it has been brought forward under powerful and influential sponsorship. Again and again it has been prevented. Governments of every hue, Prime Ministers of every calibre, have been found during successive generations inflexibly opposed to it. To those who have consistently favoured the idea this ponderous and overwhelming resistance has always seemed a mystery. Winston Churchill, 1936.
The idea of a fixed link between Britain and France was first mooted by a French engineer in 1802, much to the horror of the British military, who had recently secured the Peace of Amiens. Little came of the project and many of the others that were proposed over the years, save a collection of entertaining drawings. The first project to actually start digging was a railway tunnel which was begun in