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Channel Tunnel Rail Link

The Channel Tunnel Rail Link (or CTRL) is a project to construct a 108 km high speed rail line from London to the British end of the Channel Tunnel. When it is completed it will be possible to reach Paris from St Pancras in 2hrs 15mins and Brussels in 2hrs.

Table of contents
1 Background
2 The project
3 Engineering notes
4 Additional information
5 External links


A high-speed rail track has been in operation on the French and Belgian sections of the Eurostar rail link since the Channel Tunnel's opening, carrying trains at 300km/h. In Britain trains have had to share existing standard track with local traffic, limiting average speeds to 100km/h. In addition, the generally poor state of Britain's rail infrastructure has caused frequent and unpredictable delays.

The project

Section 1 of the CTRL, a 74km section of high-speed track from the Channel Tunnel to Fawkham Junction in north Kent, was opened in September 2003. This cut the London-Paris journey time by around 20 minutes to 2hrs 35mins. The section includes a 1.2km bridge over the River Medway and 3.2km-long, 12m-diameter tunnel through the North Downs. In safety testing on the section prior to opening, a new UK rail speed record of 334.7km/h was set. Trains continue to use existing suburban lines to enter London, and terminate at London Waterloo, on the south side of central London.

Section 2 of the project, due to open in 2007, is a 34km stretch of track from Fawkham Junction to London St Pancras. It includes two new stations (at Ebbsfleet and London Stratford), a 3km tunnel under the Thames near Dartford, and a 19km twin tunnel running into central London. When the second phase of the CTRL is opened, most Eurostar trains will run to St Pancras although a few will continue to run to Waterloo.

Engineering notes

Additional information

After local protests, early plans were modified to put much more of the track in tunnel where it nears St Pancras. The CTRL building works are causing considerable disruption, but bringing in their wake much redevelopment of the run-down area of post-industrial and ex-railway land close to Kings Cross and St Pancras.

The project is due to be completed in 2007.

See also: High speed rail, Eurostar, TGV, British railway system

External links