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Brunel, Isambard Kingdom

Thames Tunnel
Society: ASCE Main Category: Civil Sub Category: Tunnels Era: 1840-1849 DateCreated: 1843 Beneath the Thames River London State: Zip: Country: UK Website: Creator: Brunel, Marc Isambard , Brunel, Isambard Kingdom

By the turn of the 19th century, London's streets were clogged with traffic. Over 3,700 passengers used the Thames River's main boat crossing each day, while wagons and carts were forced to cross via the London Bridge, two miles away. Building a bridge would further impede shipping on the already-crowded Thames; a tunnel was the obvious alternative.

The first attempt at a tunnel in the present location began in 1807. The excavation had proceeded only 1,000 feet-using traditional mining methods-when crews reached a layer of quicksand and were forced to stop.

Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/Annie Mole (CC BY 2.0) Image Caption: Thames Tunnel Era_date_from: 1843
Great Western Railway
Society: ASCE Main Category: Civil Sub Category: Roads & Rails Era: 1830-1839 DateCreated: 1838 Temple Meads Station Bristol State: Zip: BS1 Country: UK Website: Creator: Brunel, Isambard Kingdom

In the early 1830s, the merchants of Bristol, long dissatisfied with their communication with London, began to wonder if the new railroad technology might be a solution to their problem. The Bristol Chamber of Commerce, the Merchant Adventurers and other local industrial bodies formed a committee in 1833 to discuss the ambitious proposal of laying a railway to London. Matters progressed swiftly. Money was advanced and the search for a first-class engineer to guide the effort.


Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/Ingy The Wingy (CC BY-ND 2.0) Image Caption: Great Western Railway lower quadrant semaphore signals; 1952 Era_date_from: 1838
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