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All aboard! Entrepreneur proposes rail link with Jersey

All aboard! Entrepreneur proposes rail link with Jersey

Monday 06 January 2020

All aboard! Entrepreneur proposes rail link with Jersey


A £2.6 billion project has been proposed that would see an underwater tunnel created between Guernsey and Jersey.

Businessman Martyn Dorey has been developing his proposals together with Danish experts Ramboll, who have previously advised on a 18km fixed immersed tunnel link across the Fehmarnbelt in Scandinavia and the Queensferry Crossing, which is the world's longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge.

He turned to them for technical advice for what he regards as a groundbreaking project that would enable islanders to travel the 44km route between St Peter Port and St Helier in just 15 minutes, with a stop-off at Jersey Airport on the way. 

Mr Dorey said the plans are still only in the early stages, but serve as a more viable alternative to his original suggestion, which was for an underwater motorway. 

"The width of a car tunnel would need four-way traffic and that would be very wide and much more expensive to dig," he said. "We have to design a solution to meet everyone’s needs and do so in such a way that also meets the needs of the investors."

He sees it as a primarily private sector project, as it would amount to about 2p in the taxpayer's pound if the States were to fund it. 

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Pictured: Martyn Dorey said his project would require States support in order to get off the ground.

"It would take about five years to get established and we want to see government support for the initial years, as it will take many years to bring investors on board," he said. "The first question is how do we get the feasibility study paid for, as that is not something they (a private investor) would usually do."

In terms of how the States and the taxpayer would benefit from it, Mr Dorey said the tax take from the project would be "off the scale", while there would be many economic, cultural and travel benefits.

"The repayment time would depend on the growth in GDP, which may see a 25% boost if you see how people behave when they have a high speed travel link," he said. 

"We have 200,000 visitors a year and a high speed link would better enable Guernsey to tap into the 750,000 people who visit Jersey every year."

Ultimately, the success of a subsea train service in the Channel Islands would hinge on the speed - Mr Dorey is aiming for 15 minutes between St Peter Port and St Helier - and the price point, which he believes needs to be a maximum of £30 for a one-off booking and potentially as low as £10 for regulars. 

"This certainly isn’t going to be an instant flash in the pan, this is going to be a long slog," he said. "It is definitely technically achievable and the best bang for our buck will be a rail link rather than a motorway."

VisitGuernsey has asked to clarify that the 2018 statistics show there were 420,140 visitors in total, including cruise visitors and yachts. The total excluding cruise and yacht visitors was 280,475 according to the 2018 data. 

Pictured top: A graphic of the proposals, supplied by Ramboll. 

 

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