The UK and France share the Channel Tunnel, aiding the daily movement of cargo, passenger vehicles and persons from the island to continental Europe. Fairly straightforward right? Trains run under the same stretch of water, again fairly straightforward? Sure. So what about a 92km (57.2 miles) trek underwater as a way of moving from A to B?
Well this is exactly what the Finnish and Estonian ministers have in mind (having signed a memorandum of understanding; thus leading to a cooperative research initiative between the two nations to better understand the pro's and cons of the said project) to bring both Helsinki and Tallinn much closer, opening easier access and decreasing time spent on the water travelling between the two cities; or for the bolder driver travelling via Russia.
Of course the tunnels in question could bring long-term economic prospects to both nations, not to mention the potential for a Guinness World Record as the 'longest underwater railway tunnel', so here's hoping that at no point during the transition between the planning and constructing stages that no 'steam' is lost.
Naturally enabling a more-direct service would give cargo greater ease of access to pass through the two nations and to the designated final destinations. In addition the proposed railway will link up to another rail line which as the diagram shows will connect the Baltic nations, Poland and Germany together, thus enabling as said greater ease of access for cargo to travel across Europe in this case.
According to Railway Technology, the proposed 'trains could reach speeds of 250km/h, significantly cutting the commuting time from the current two and a half hours by ferry down to only 30 minutes per journey.' (http://www.railway-technology.com/features/featurehelsinki-tallinn-rail-tunnel-a-future-european-link-4827400/), so this asks the question, how could this help the lives of the Finnish and Estonian peoples, in particular musicians?
Well for those touring and gigging, not only would it bring the possibility of next-day gigs happening off the cuff but also because the estimated travel time is only 30 minutes, then bands and musicians would not have a long wait ahead to catch the ferry or take the unconventional trip through Russia.
Furthermore this would help the fans reach either country to see the bands they want to see play more easily, instead of leaving to get to a gig over three hours prior to it starting. Plus if they plan to adopt the same style of transport used in the Channel Tunnel, then bands touring from outside of and across Europe on coaches would certainly feel the benefits through cost, time and as said twice previously ease of access.
Granted this venture is set to make its first proper steps between 2025 and 2030, but let's face it, technology is advancing at such a rate that by the time this connection is made, continental underwater railways might be a vision in-sight, could you imagine Europe connecting with Africa?
The Helsinki-Tallinn Tunnel will be built into the public transport systems in both countries with
Finland's Central Railway station and Helsinki airport and Estonia's traffic network at Ülemiste receiving the revolutionary transportation links. Of course it will be an expensive venture clocking up at around 9-13 billion euros (between £7-£10 billion), but with travel journeys estimated to take 30-40 minutes, that is a decent investment if you think about it.
But this there any more benefits to musicians aside from just quicker travelling and simpler logistics? Well OK say there was a delay in movement, or the train stopped, those with guitars could easily strum a note or two and thus give passengers an insight into their music. Of course music equipment would be easier to ship, thus potentially reducing shipping and handling fees. It avoids having to go into Russia and consequently needing a Visa due to the Schengen Area covering most of Europe except the UK, Russia, Ireland, South-Eastern and parts of Eastern Europe.
It also would help not only musicians, but people in general travel without the worry of the weater outside that otherwise could cancel ferries as it would be underground.
Whatever the future holds for this ingenious project, here's hoping it comes into fruition, helps musicians and the peoples of Finland and Estonia in genera, but on a greater scale bring together both countries' remarkable metal music scenes and nations respectively.
There is a whole host of socio-economic and cultural benefits and drawbacks stated on:- http://www.railway-technology.com/features/featurehelsinki-tallinn-rail-tunnel-a-future-european-link-4827400/
By GMA's Gibraltar correspondent Nathan Colombo
Recently Gibraltar has been on the end of a beating stick by what could be described as “Un-European” at the hands of Spain. Massive border queues spanning for hours and hours have been brought into effect by the Spanish government at the border of Gibraltar and the Spanish town of La Linea De La Concepción.
Unlike what many Spaniards have been saying, these border queues have affected not only Gibraltarians but Spaniards also. With queues lasting up to FOUR HOURS (and more at a time) it makes it almost impossible for Spaniards who work in Gibraltar to get to work (or vice versa). Now sometimes the queues are not as bad in the morning, but they get rather bad during the evenings, usually around the time people are leaving work to go home, and you may have guessed this also affect their citizens also.
You could imagine those poor workers who have finished a hard day’s work and are now forced to sit in a border queue for hours on end just to get home to their families. One problem that has been created because of these border queues is its effect on the local music scenes of both Gibraltar and Spain. It would seem that some Spanish bands have been put off from wanting to play in Gibraltar, not for political reasons but because of the massive border queues and I see their problem.
Imagine having to play a gig on a Friday in a town only around I don’t know 45 minutes away (that would most likely be around the town of Estepona) but having to be in a queue for around four hours just to get into Gibraltar and then there the whole hassle of setting up, doing the sound check, etc (which can be a while if it’s your first time at a new venue and you are not using your own set up), only to then after your gig go back at whatever time it finishes and you and your band decides to go home only to go into another massive queue just to get home? Now I know what a lot of you guys are thinking...“Go early then?” and I get it bands will always try to find a way but in some cases they can’t.
These are normally underground bands / musicians, which means they do not make a living from their music... most of them have day jobs. When they finish their usual 9-5 routine they would make their way down to Gibraltar and do what they do best. In these cases I see how these bands may suffer and it’s not only them who are suffering. Local bands are suffering also with all that is happening as they are going through the EXACT same thing with the only difference being that instead of them having hassle to play in Gibraltar the hassle is going into Spain. On a lighter note, some locals have seen this in a positive light as now they believe local musicians have their “time to shine”. With more dates open in venues they believe local musicians can now play as much as they want as get some decent exposure.
Now not to s**t on your parade here but you're wrong! In some sense you're right considering locals can get out there locally but that is the problem it’s only locally. Gibraltar is small and a band can only do so much in such a small area and having Spain right next to us helps these local musicians get more exposure and grow a bigger fan base which is what musicians want! These musicians are amazingly competent and work hard to do what they do. They want to grow and play different venues it is only natural. Do you want to see them same bands over and over the same week? NO you don’t! The same thing goes for the bands.... They want to see different crowds, see different places. No musician can really be happy playing the same one or two venues for years and years and it is understandable.
I really hope these border issues can be resolved soon and the musician scenes in both Gibraltar and Spain can continue to work together in these increasingly difficult times.
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