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Channel Tunnel Railway proposal: section showing the geological strata through which the proposed tunnels would pass

RIBA Ref No RIBA94571
Architect/DesignerLow, William (1814-1886)
Subject Date1868
Image Date1868
Library ReferenceSB141B
Colour InfoColour
CreditRIBA Collections
SubjectRailway architecture ; Underground buildings
NOTES: See also RIBA94570, RIBA94572 and RIBA13411 for other sheets of the printed proposal. The first scheme for a Channel Tunnel dated from 1802. In 1833 Aime Thome de Gamond, a young French engineer, made detailed surveys of the seabed before presenting the first of many schemes for a crossing which he promoted for the next 35 years. William Low, the author of the scheme illustrated here, was a Scottish engineer who had worked under Brunel and in the earlier part of his career specialised in railway engineering before becoming a mining engineer. He presented his first scheme for the Channel Tunnel in 1865 proposing a twin bore railway tunnel connected at intervals by cross-tunnels. Ventilation was to be provided by the piston-effect of the trains travelling through the tunnel. The scheme illustrated here dated 7 February 1868, his third scheme, was probably the one presented to the Anglo-French 'Channel Tunnel Committee' chaired by Lord Richard Grosvenor and financed by the Rothschilds which had been created on 24 January 1868. Although some tunnelling was begun in 1880 the Government stopped work because of security concerns. Low's design was to form the basis of the design put forward by the Channel Tunnel Study Group in 1960 and the tunnel which was eventually built.

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