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Gibraltar tunnel plan surfaces again


A century-old dream of linking Spain and Morocco with a rail tunnel under the Strait of Gibraltar is under discussion again at both ends, with proponents hoping it could open by 2030 when Spain, Morocco and Lisbon jointly host the FIFA World Cup.

Meetings took place in March between ministers of the two governments, and research has been underway in both on feasibility and financing. While no firm figure has been offered, estimates put the cost in the range of €6-8 billion.

The idea of the tunnel was first proposed in 1930 by Spain, but then abandoned because of extremely dense rock in the seabed, but tunneling technology has changed since then. The project was discussed again in 1979, but no work was done.

The revival of the project has not only to do with the World Cup, but also with the two nations developing modern high-speed rail lines which would enable a tunnel to make a real dent in trade. A Spanish report suggests that a tunnel would carry 13 millions tons of cargo and 12.8 million passengers a year, eliminating many flights, ferries and truck transport.

Obstacles still remain; the undersea portion of the tunnel, which would link a point just west of Tarifa, Spain with Malabata, just east of Tangier would be 17 miles long and have to go as deep as 1550 feet—nearly a third of a mile—deep.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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