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Railhub Archive
2003-09-16 EUR-001


Prime Minister opens first section of Channel Tunnel Rail Link

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Channel Tunnel Rail Link

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Prime Minister opens first section of Channel Tunnel Rail Link

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16 September 2003
source Eurostar
type Press release

o Public-Private Partnership project delivered on time and on budget

o High-speed infrastructure enables Eurostar trains to travel at 186mph (300 km/h)

o Eurostar journey times to/from London reduced by 20 minutes with increased reliability

The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, will open the first section of the new fast rail line, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL 1), in a special ceremony later today. CTRL 1 is the first major UK rail project to be completed in over a century and the first section of high-speed infrastructure to be completed in Britain.

The fast line stretches for 46 miles (74km) - from the entrance of the Channel Tunnel to north Kent. Not only has it been built to the highest standards in terms of environmental design, but CTRL is also the first railway line in the UK to be equipped with state of the art safety technology.

The first section of the line has been built under a Public-Private Partnership contract between the Government and London & Continental Railways (LCR). LCR is building both sections of the CTRL through its subsidiary, Union Railways.

The opening ceremony, to be held at the Eurostar terminal at London Waterloo and beside the new rail line at Sandling in Kent, will be attended by more than 100 VIPs. Among the VIPs will be the UK Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP, and Louis Gallois, the Chairman of SNCF, the French national railway company.

Mr. Darling commented: "This is an historic occasion - the opening of the first ever high speed railway line in this country, and the first new major railway to be built here for over 100 years.

"Today sees the opening of the first stage, the new railway between the channel tunnel and North Kent. With trains running up to 186 miles per hour, this will reduce journey times from London to Paris to nearly two and a half hours."

Rob Holden, Chief Executive of LCR said: "The completion of CTRL Section One on time and on budget is an important milestone that demonstrates the power of Public-Private Partnerships and the capabilities of the UK rail industry when we focus our efforts. The country's first high-speed railway provides a great boost to Eurostar, whose service will again be enhanced with the completion of CTRL Section Two in 2007."

Eurostar passengers will experience the new line when trains start using CTRL1 from 28 September 2003.

Richard Brown, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said: "Not only will Eurostar offer faster journey times but a superior journey experience in terms of a smoother ride, reliability and punctuality. Alternative methods of travel cannot offer their passengers the same ability to relax throughout or work uninterrupted during the journey. We have already seen a rise in ticket sales as our customers recognise the importance and convenience of travelling from the heart of London to the centre of Paris, Brussels and Lille."

Construction of Section Two of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL2) is on schedule to be completed by 2007. This second section phase includes over 15 miles of tunnelling from north Kent to the new Eurostar International Terminal at St Pancras station, London.

Once CTRL2 is complete, the new railway will double the capacity available for Eurostar at peak times and will again cut journey times by a further 15 minutes, bringing the non-stop journey time from the centre of London to the centre of Brussels down to just over two hours. In addition to this, CTRL will be providing fixed infrastructure to enable a high speed domestic service between Kent and London.

Railhub Archive ::: 2003-09-16 EUR-001


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