Luke Livingstone Macassey, a native of Carrickfergus, wanted to link Northern Ireland and Scotland via tunnel citing "order and prosperity"
Victorian-era engineer Luke Livingstone Macassey and his colleague William Scott explored the idea of a link between Northern Ireland and Scotland over 150 years ago, reports The Daily Mail.
Macassey, who was one of the most sought-after engineers of his era, and Scott wrote in an 1868 report: "The distinction of races has been ever a curse to Ireland and no surer method exists for the complete amalgamation of the Saxon and Celt in the Briton, than easy and constant intercourse between the three countries.”
“Such a railway-led union would in turn tend to the consolidation of empire, so greatly desired by all lovers of order and prosperity.”
Later in 1890, Macassey proposed seven different options for the cross channel link using train tunnels. The Carrickfergus-born engineer and barrister wrote: “There is one thing in which time has made no change in the public mind and that is the dread of sea sickness.”
“They would undergo the fatigue of a hundred miles' trip by rail rather than risk the horrors of 20 miles in a rough sea.”
The ambitious proposal had a cost of what would be about £455 million ($565 million) in the present day. Scottish Field reports that concerns about the project's cost were acknowledged in Macassey's prospectus: "No amount of traffic likely to arise would make the tunnel a dividend-paying concern… the tunnel must be constructed at the expense of the state. No railway company or body of speculators would ever venture upon an undertaking of so doubtful a character."
Earlier this month, reports leaked from British government offices showed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had directed agencies to begin exploring the feasibility and costs of a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The Prime Minister said the project would "only cost about £15 billion ($18 billion)."