ABSTRACT

While the building of the Tunnel was bedevilled by delays and additional expense, the same could also be said of the railway infrastructure, though the publicity it attracted was much more limited. The story of the British share of the investment has already been told, from the perspective of the British Railways Board.1 Here it is important to highlight the role played by the Government in the process. As we have seen (pp. 308-9), Channon and Major had capped spending on the Phase I works (London-Paris/Brussels core) at £550 million in August 1987. Following further appraisal work in January 1989 British Rail raised its estimate to £706 million, an increase of 16 per cent on the ceiling (now £607 million in Q3/1988 prices). However, the message from Euston House was that the financial return would be higher than that indicated in 1987.2 Further revisions were made as the costs of the terminals and trains were firmed up. By July the estimate had risen to £884 million in 1988/9 prices, and in October it stood at £905 million, 46 per cent higher than the ceiling (£621 million in 1988/9 prices). With contingencies, the final cost was put at £1.1 billion, nearly 80 per cent higher.3