Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Monday, September 28, 1998 Published at 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK

Business: The Company File

Chunnel deal on track

Railtrack plans to invest £4bn in the Channel Tunnel rail link

Railtrack, which owns Britain's railway tracks and major stations, has received backing from its shareholders for plans to invest £4bn in the Channel tunnel rail link to London.

Shareholders had to give their approval at an extraordinary general meeting because of the size of the deal.

[ image: The new line will cut journey times by up to 35 minutes]
The new line will cut journey times by up to 35 minutes
The final results of the vote will not be known until later this week, but proxy votes received in advance of the meeting backed the deal by a margin of 10-1.

The total number of votes in favour was 201m, with only 19m against.

There are around 504m Railtrack shares issued, but the shareholders who attended the special meeting own nowhere near enough of the company to overturn the outcome of the proxy vote.

Railtrack steps in

Britain has lagged behind France in building its part of the high-speed rail connection between London and Paris.

While France finished its link in time for the opening of the Channel Tunnel, in the UK the private sector consortium found the going more difficult.

In January London & Continental Railways asked the UK Government for an extra £1.2bn subsidy towards operating the Eurostar service and the construction of the Channel Tunnel Railink.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott turned down the request.

He asked London & Continental for proposals which would ensure the link was built by the private sector on terms acceptable to the government.

Railtrack stepped in. The company will spend £1.5bn on the first phase up to north Kent and £2.5bn on the second phase into St Pancras station in London.

It will manage the construction for the railway up to north Kent and commit to buy it on completion. It will also have the option to build and buy the rest of the link in 2006.

Railtrack has agreed to carry the full cost of any overruns in construction costs.

The link will carry trains at 300 km an hour (186mph) through southeast England, reducing the journey time between London and the Continent by up to 35 minutes.

Railtrack shares closed 54p higher at £16.60.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

The Company File Contents

Relevant Stories

28 Jul 98†|†The Company File
Railtrack charges to be fixed

03 Jun 98†|†UK Politics
Chunnel link to go ahead

Internet Links

Department of the Environment , Transport and the Regions


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Microsoft trial mediator welcomed

Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Christmas turkey strike vote

NatWest bid timetable frozen

France faces EU action over electricity

Pace enters US cable heartland

Mannesmann fights back

Storehouse splits up Mothercare and Bhs

The rapid rise of Vodafone

The hidden shopping bills

Europe's top net stock

Safeway faces cash demand probe

Mitchell intervenes to help shipyard

New factory creates 500 jobs

Drugs company announces 300 jobs

BT speeds internet access

ICL creates 1,000 UK jobs

National Power splits in two

NTT to slash workforce

Scoot links up with Vivendi

New freedom for Post Office

Insolvent firms to get breathing space

Airtours profits jump 12%

Freeserve shares surge

LVMH buys UK auction house

Rover - a car firm's troubles