In 1985, at the beginning of the world-beating Channel Tunnel project, it was all about huge numbers. The client, owner, and operator of the system, Eurotunnel, had to be created and financed through a pool of 203 different banks worldwide. French and British Engineering methods and expertise had to be brought together, integrating executives from ten companies, incorporating and training 13,000 people. 150 km of tunnelling had to be completed in four years, fixed equipment installation within two years after breakthrough, and commissioning including rolling stock, within one year.
Now it all about just one number; a 95% drop in travellers since March 2020.
For Eurostar it appears there may be no light at the end of the tunnel, as the British may want to go to France, but they can't, and the French don't want to come to the United Kingdom, not even for our sparkling wine. This is one business that cannot branch out and innovate. When you have a tunnel that goes from A to B, you cannot just try C or implement a Plan D.
It appears that the root of the problem is that the British Government sees the Eurostar as French, while the French Government views it as British. Eurostar, which is London-based, say they are encouraged by loans and grants that have been offered to other sections of the travel industry to cope with the challenges of the Coro ... blah, blah, blah, and rather pointedly say that the service could 'collapse within months' without Government assistance. In particular, they say: "Without additional funding from Government there is a real risk to the survival of Eurostar, the green gateway to Europe, as the current situation is very serious."
Railways are all about lines and you may be finding it difficult to read between these particular ones, so let us in the NTI newsroom offer you assistance up into your carriage.
"Give us money, or one of the globe's greatest engineering projects, that ensures traffic flow across its most ambitious continent, will be closed. No more tunnel. No more trains. No more travel. N'est-ce pas?"
The 'mail' seems almost as black to us as the light in the middle of the tunnel will be in a few months time if the French and the Brit Governments don't put their raw, tired hands into their pockets and bail Eurostar out. And we all know, the tunnel will never be allowed to close.
Grant Shapps was away not getting a haircut and messing up the World's worse travel notion, smart motorways, so a spokesperson said in his place: "The Government has been engaging extensively with Eurostar on a regular basis since the beginning of the outbreak. We will continue to work closely with them as we support the safe restart and recovery of international travel."
The Governments of France and the UK will cave. They will supply the funds. People will still be able to travel to places on the continent they embarrassingly cannot pronounce.