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Channel Tunnel Rail Link

From Academic Kids

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KingsCrossDevelopmentModel.jpg
Model showing the current redevelopment of the King's Cross area with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link terminal behind the barrel-vaulted St Pancras Station on the left.

The Channel Tunnel Rail Link (or CTRL) is a project to construct a 108 km (67 mi) high-speed rail line from London to the British end of the Channel Tunnel. When it is completed in 2007, it will be possible to reach Paris from St Pancras in 2 h 15 min and Brussels in 2 h.

Contents

Background

A high-speed rail track has been in operation on the French section of the Eurostar rail link since the Channel Tunnel's opening in 1994, carrying trains at 300 km/h (186 mph). A similar high-speed line from the French border to Brussels opened in 1997. In Britain, trains have had to share existing standard track with local traffic, limiting average speeds to 100 km/h (62 mph). In addition, the generally poor state of Britain's rail infrastructure has caused frequent and unpredictable delays, reducing the appeal of the Eurostar service.

The project

Section 1 of the CTRL, a 74 km (46 mi) 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 2 h 35 min. The section includes a 1.2 km ( mi) bridge over the River Medway and 3.2 km (2 mi) long, 12 m (40 ft) diameter tunnel through the North Downs. In safety testing on the section prior to opening, a new UK rail speed record of 334.7 km/h (209 mph) was set. Trains continue to use existing suburban lines to enter London, and terminate at Waterloo International Terminal, at Waterloo in Central London.

Section 2 of the project, due to open in 2007, is a 34 km (21 mi) stretch of track from Ebbsfleet (near Northfleet) to London St Pancras. It includes two new stations (at Ebbsfleet and London Stratford), a 3 km (2 mi) tunnel under the Thames near Dartford, and a 19 km (12 mi) twin tunnel running into central London. When the second phase of the CTRL is opened, all Eurostar trains will run to St Pancras International instead of Waterloo International Terminal, as they currently do.

Engineering notes

  • The CTRL project is one of Britain's largest civil engineering projects, encompassing new bridges and tunnels as well as many kilometres of track.
  • The track itself is essentially a product of the engineering expertise of the French railway company SNCF, operator of existing TGV high-speed lines in France.
  • The twin tunnel being bored under London is being driven from Stratford (westwards towards St Pancras and eastwards towards Dagenham) and from Dagenham (westwards to connect with the tunnel from Stratford). The tunnel boring machines are 120 m long and weigh 1,100 tonnes. The depth of the tunnel varies from 24 to 50 m.
  • At St Pancras station a new extension will double the length and number of platforms to accommodate the Eurostar trains.

Additional information

After local protests, early plans were modified to put much more of the track in tunnel where it nears St Pancras. For example, the Link will now pass underneath, rather than alongside, the North London Line, before running into St Pancras still in tunnel, rather than the previously expected elevated section. 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 King's Cross and St Pancras.

The project is due to be completed in 2007.

See also

External links


Railway lines in Great Britain:

<p style="font-size: 90%">High-speed main lines: <p style="font-size: 90%">Channel Tunnel Rail Link - Channel Tunnel
<p style="font-size: 90%">'Classic' main lines: <p style="font-size: 90%">Cross-Country - East Coast - Great Eastern - Great Western - Midland - West Coast
<p style="font-size: 90%">Other main lines: <p style="font-size: 90%">Brighton - Chiltern - Chatham - Hastings - Highland - Kent Coast - London, Tilbury & Southend - North Wales - Portsmouth Direct - Settle-Carlisle - Shrewsbury-Wolverhampton - South Wales - South Western - Welsh Marches - Wessex - West Anglia - West of England
<p style="font-size: 90%">Secondary routes: <p style="font-size: 90%">Airedale - Arun Valley - Ayrshire Coast - Birmingham-Peterborough - Caldervale - Cambridge-Norwich - Cotswold - Dearne Valley - East Coastway - Golden Valley - Glasgow South Western - Hallam - Harrogate - Harwich - Hope Valley - Huddersfield - Lea Valley - Leeds-Bradford - Medway Valley - North Downs - Pontefract - Robin Hood - Riviera - Wakefield - West Coastway - York & Selby
<p style="font-size: 90%">Commuter lines: <p style="font-size: 90%">Alton - Argyle - Bexleyheath - Birmingham Cross-City - Braintree - Butetown - Cardiff City - Caterham - Catford Loop - Chase - Coryton - Dartford Loop - Gospel Oak-Barking - Hayes - Hounslow Loop - Inverclyde - Ivanhoe - Maesteg - Merthyr - Mid-Kent - Morecambe - North Clyde - North Kent - North London - Northern City - Oxted - Rhondda - Rhymney - Romford-Upminster - Severn Beach - Sheerness - South London - St Albans Abbey - Sutton & Mole Valley - Tattenham Corner - Vale of Glamorgan - Walsall - Waterloo-Reading - West London - Wharfedale - Whifflet
<p style="font-size: 90%">Rural lines: <p style="font-size: 90%">Atlantic Coast - Avocet - Bittern - Buxton - Cambrian - Crouch Valley - Cumbrian Coast - Conwy Valley - Derwent Valley - Durham Coast - East Suffolk - Esk Valley - Far North - Felixstowe - Fen Line - Furness - Heart of Wales - Heart of Wessex - Island Line - Kyle of Lochalsh - Looe Valley - Lymington - Maritime - Marshlink - Marston Vale - Penistone - Ribble Valley - St Ives - Sudbury - Tamar Valley - Tarka - Tees Valley - Tyne Valley - West Highland - Wherry - Windermere - Yorkshire Coast
<p style="font-size: 90%">Closed major routes: <p style="font-size: 90%">Great Central - Honeybourne - Somerset & Dorset - Waverley - Woodhead


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