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Railwatch 087 - March 2001

Tracks to north for Eurostar

The Government has granted "powers" to allow a new international station to be built at Stratford, east London, for the Channel Tunnel rail link. The new station will form an important interchange for both domestic and international passengers, said Transport Minister Keith Hill.

Stratford is already served by the Central and Jubilee lines, the Docklands Light Railway, the North London Line and the Great Eastern Railway.

Also authorised is a twin-track connection between the CTRL and the North London Line near St Pancras, so regional services from the CTRL can run on to the West Coast main line. "The proposed twin-track connection near St Pancras will enable direct services from regional centres to by-pass St Pancras, with Stratford serving as the London stop," said Mr Hill. "The operational flexibility will cut journey times for these services and help to extend the benefits of the CTRL beyond the south east."

The Transport and Works Act order also requires the provision of a 400-yard long travelator between the international station and the existing station.

Powers to construct the station "box" at Stratford and the tunnels on either side were included in the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act but the proposals for the station were settled too late for inclusion in that Act.

Eurostar (UK), a subsidiary of London and Continental Railways, made the TWA application in 1997 and construction of the second phase of the CTRL project, from north Kent to St Pancras including Stratford station, is now being taken forward by Union Railways (North) Limited, also a subsidiary of LCR.

The future of north of London Eurostar services has been a worry for the RDS international committee. To make them commercially viable, RDS is campaigning for both domestic and international passengers to travel on the trains, as is normal practice elsewhere in Europe.

Currently British security fears are undermining the creation of a high-speed European rail network and the financial health of Eurostar services.

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