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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 12:44 GMT
Chunnel trains 'could stop in Kent'
A Eurostar train
The findings go against evidence from the SRA
High-speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) trains could stop at Kent stations, according to a new report.

The study's findings go against evidence from the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), which says the county's lines have already reached full capacity.

The report, commissioned by Kent County Council and Medway Council, says four or more CTRL services could stop in north Kent each day.

Rodney Chambers, leader of Medway Council, says if it happens it would be of huge benefit to business in the area.

It would help us sell Medway

Council leader Rodney Chambers
The SRA has said Eurostar trains could only stop in Medway towns in place of existing services and that it did not see a strong business case for trains calling there.

But local councils disagreed and commissioned a study from engineering consultants Steer, Davies and Gleeve.

It concludes that by minimising the time trains stop at stations, integrating the CTRL trains into the existing timetable and spending 20m on re-signalling and track re-alignment, the Channel Tunnel trains could call at stations such as Chatham.

'Lower cost'

Mr Chambers said: "If Medway is served by CTRL domestic train services it will become a more attractive place for new investment because it will be more accessible, but at lower cost, than London.

"This is a once off opportunity to resolve the capacity problems on the north Kent line as well as keep Medway firmly as the city of the Thames Gateway.

"Whether it's better transport to London or out of London to Medway, it would help us sell Medway as an attractive centre for inward investors."

The second phase of the CTRL, which will enable the tunnel trains to run to St Pancras via Ashford, is set to open in 2007.


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See also:

11 Feb 03 | England
08 Feb 03 | England
30 Jan 03 | England
21 Jan 03 | England
16 Feb 03 | Politics
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