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Last Updated: Monday, 5 April, 2004, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Eurotunnel drill bids reach 5m
Tunnel Boring Machine B6
The drill is being auctioned for charity
Eurotunnel has put a 580-tonne drill used to build the Channel Tunnel up for grabs on the online auction site eBay.

After 179 bids the price tops 5m, but the auction has taken a dubious turn with several bids of 10m and more withdrawn or annulled by eBay.

The Tunnel Boring Machine called B6 is the last remaining drill used in the building of the cross-Channel link.

The massive drill currently stands in Folkestone, Kent, and delivery costs have to be paid by the buyer.

They (potential buyers) are going to need a pretty big garden
Eurotunnel spokesman

In its write-up for the drill, eBay suggests the giant machine might just make the perfect present for an eccentric engineering fan.

The potential buyer will not only need to stay in the bidding but will need room to store the 580-tonne apparatus.

Eurotunnel are hoping to make as much money as possible from the charity auction but admit they are not entirely sure who will want it.

A company spokesman said: "We're hoping to get interest from mines or museums, but there's also a chance that eccentrics might want to buy it.

Has 227 double-headed rock picks tipped with tungsten carbide
Possesses a revolving speed of 2.38 revolutions per minute
As one of 10 TBM, it ate through millions of cubic metres of chalk and soil in digging the Channel Tunnel

"It's not operational so it's got more of an ornamental value really.

"Delivery isn't included so if an individual does want to buy it then that could be tricky. They are also going to need a pretty big garden."

Proceeds from the sale will be shared by McMillan Nurses, Demelza House Hospice and Pilgrims Hospice.

Dubious bidding

The eBay auction closes on 12 April.

It is doubtful, though, whether these charities will see any of the hundreds of thousands bandied about on the eBay website.

After attracting no bids during the first two days, the auction got well under way on Monday, with prices slowly creeping up to the 17,000 pounds level.

From there on the auction appeared to spin out of control, with bid levels repeatedly reaching 10m or more, only to see the bids annulled or withdrawn shortly thereafter.

One of the bidders offering to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds had previously bought nothing more adventureous than old Arcade game machines.

The current auction leader's eBay history stretches as far as used laptops and old computer parts.

Eurotunnel racks up big losses
09 Feb 04  |  Business
Eurotunnel battle gathers pace
14 Oct 03  |  Business
Eurotunnel warns on revenues
21 Jul 03  |  Business
Eurotunnel attacks state 'inaction'
11 Feb 02  |  Business

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