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Boris’s “Douglas Junction”


hampsterkahn
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It's in The Times too, although it gets short shrift.

 
 

As flights of political fancy go, Boris Johnson’s desire to build a tunnel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland might seem to be one of the most audacious.

However, Whitehall officials have revealed that one version of the plan worked up in Downing Street went even further, envisaging not one but three tunnels under the Irish Sea connecting in an “underground roundabout” beneath the Isle of Man.

No 10 officials given the task of examining how Johnson’s blue-sky thinking might be feasible quickly concluded that the original plan of a link between Stranraer in Scotland and Larne in Northern Ireland was impractical.

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Stranraer has poor transport links and it would cost billions to build a high-speed rail link to connect the tunnel terminus with the rest of Britain. “It would have cost just as much to put in 100 miles of high-speed rail to get even to Carlisle as it would to dig the tunnel,” claimed one source familiar with the deliberations.

Instead officials proposed three starting points: at Stranraer, Heysham, near Lancaster, and one near Liverpool. “The idea was that these three tunnels would meet in a giant roundabout underneath the Isle of Man and the tunnel to Ireland would start there,” the source said. “Everyone knows Boris wants to do this so people were asked to look at how.”

 

That route would mean the tunnel was built south of Beaufort’s Dyke — a 32-mile fissure that was used to dump an estimated 1.5 million tons of Second World War munitions — which gets in the way of a direct route between Stranraer and Larne.

A second source suggested that the plan for Douglas Junction was designed to “highlight how nuts this whole thing is”. The tunnel scheme is regarded as “batshit” by several of Johnson’s senior aides.

However, in private they acknowledge that it is a “Fuhrer bunker project”, so beloved of the prime minister that it “cannot die”.

“Just as Hitler moved around imaginary armies in the dying days of the Third Reich, so the No 10 policy unit is condemned to keep looking at this idea, which exists primarily in the mind of the PM,” one informed source said. “The roundabout is round the bend.”

 

 
 

Nonetheless a formal proposal for a single tunnel has been submitted by the High-Speed Rail Group, an umbrella organisation for rail companies, to a review by Sir Peter Hendy, the chairman of Network Rail, which is supposed to find ways of improving transport links between the different parts of the UK.

Hendy, who ran Transport for London when Johnson was mayor, could give the green light for a feasibility study into the plan in the next few weeks.

“People think this is all a joke but it’s much more likely to get the go-ahead than people think,” another Whitehall official said.

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3 minutes ago, Jetfour said:

Have they considered that British railway rails are 4’ 8.5” apart and Irish railways (N & S) are 5’3” apart? (Not forgetting, of course, that the IoM rails are 3’ or 3.5’ apart)

Nah, no need to worry about rail size, by the time the tunnels are built we will have one worldwide monorail system designed by our own DOI design team, looking forward to it already.

  • Haha 3
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32 minutes ago, Flyingfemme said:

I can't see anythng that suggests connecting to The Rock. merely routing under it. That should please the Karens and pitchfork carriers.

By the time the DoI got round to building a spur off the roundabout onto the island, the rest of the whole thing would be up and running!

Those steam engines may have to go, we can rely on the cabbage though. 

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