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2003-09-27 EUR-001
Personal statement

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Speech by Guillaume Pepy (excerpt). Paris, 27 September 2003


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Margaret Thatcher
high speed rail



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Personal statement

Speech by Guillaume Pepy (excerpt). Paris, 27 September 2003
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date
27 September 2003
source Personal statement
type Speech

note Transcription (with thanks to the late Brian Perren)


Sometimes I can hear people say, we do remember that the (Eurostar) traffic forecasts were something between 12 and 13 million passengers. And you are only carrying between 7 and 8 million passengers, and you are not doing your job, and everything.

I am going to answer this issue very directly.

Because I have been with SNCF 15 years and I can remember how this thing happened. It may not be very diplomatic, but I want to make it very clear about this issue.

When President Mitterand and Prime Minister Thatcher agreed on the building of the Channel tunnel, Prime Minister Thatcher would go without a penny of public subsidy. Not a penny she said. People had to imagine how to fund the Channel Tunnel without any subsidy. And the Tunnel is about 15 million(?) Euros. So the trick they got in 1986 or 1987 is to put the emphasis on the traffic forecasts, saying well guys there is no issue, there will be 13 million people. We don't need public subsidy. Because there are so many passengers we will not need any kind of public subsidy. But we didn't believe it, actually. They didn't believe it themselves.

Because when they decided the track access charge, which means the Tunnel, they decided to create the "Minimum Users Charge", which is a fixed track access charge based on 13 million, to be sure that the 13 million will be there even if it is not there.

So there is a minimum access charge based on 13 million, but this is a virtual figure, just designed to finance (the Tunnel) on a private basis without any public subsidy. So that is the truth. And nobody had in mind that we could reach 13 million passengers in 2003 or 2004. I am sorry to have to put this on the table, but sometimes we are questioned about it and I think 15 years is a long, long time ago and people have forgotten this story.


Railhub Archive ::: 2003-09-27 EUR-001





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