31 March 2008
The Channel Tunnel was begun in Napoleonic times, that is before 1800. However, it had repeated stop start repetitions of pauses and restarts. Researchers interviewed previous workers on the Tunnel, and looked at archives of equipment maintenance and employment history.
The researchers have now come to the conclusion that the construction of the Tunnel was so intermittent and drawn out because everyone found it boring. The machines used developed substantially over the time span of the excavation. However, they were said by the engineers who had the task of building, installing and maintaining them to be just boring machines, and this resulted in the overall job as being seen as boring.
As a result, enthusiastic workers would commence their work running up and down with baskets full of debris and various kinds of junk from the Tunnel. However, after several days they were seen to be walking slowly. They were also muttering about the job being boring, the machine just an endless bore, and the job not therefore very interesting. At the most after three weeks of this waning of energy and interest, they would throw up their arms, say "It's just too boring!" and make off, sometimes without even hanging around to collect the money that was rightfully theirs for all the boring they had gone through.
So construction would stop for another twenty years until another generation appeared who did not realise the utterly boring nature of the job. With a great fanfare of energy and bilingual officials, the whole process would take off again, from the last subterranean point reached.
After at least seven stops and starts like that, the Channel Tunnel was finally opened in 1981 with a very interesting ceremony. The first trains through were fitted (needlessly, as it turned out) with cinemas and bars in case the occupants found the journey boring.