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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 October, 2004, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Rail line move 'could link town'
Channel Tunnel Rail Link
The 140mph trains are expected to be introduced in 2009
Up to 10m could be spent on moving a railway line so Dover can benefit from a high-speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

London-to-Kent links are now confirmed with routes expected to include Medway, Sittingbourne, Gravesend, Folkestone, Canterbury and Ramsgate.

Dover council said a side-exit platform is needed in the Shakespeare Tunnel, to satisfy safety regulations.

The council wants the government to pay for moving the track to one side, so that a safety platform can be built.

Cllr Paul Watkins, leader of the district council, told BBC Radio Kent the authority was waiting for a Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) report and a decision on whether there was an engineering solution.

"It could be costly," he said.

If we don't have this type of connection that will add to major problems in the future
Cllr Paul Watkins

"But let's look at fair play in this area.

"Ashford and the Thames Gateway are getting all the major infrastructure - they are the growth areas.

"East Kent and Dover are suffering from job losses and we have major structural problems, and if we don't have this type of connection that will add to major problems in the future."

He said the 0.75-mile tunnel had a railway track running down the middle which could be moved to one side to make way for the side-exit platform.

Cllr Watkins said that it was a case of waiting to decide if the government would pay for the work.

High-speed trains

Alastair Dormer, a spokesman for Hitachi Europe, which is building the trains for the Channel Tunnel rail link, said the trains were not a problem.

He said: "I know the SRA is working with Network Rail to see if the Shakespeare Tunnel can accommodate these new trains, but it is probably a bit early to speculate on whether that will be the case.

"The trains are very high-speed at 140mph.

"To meet European and UK safety regulations, the tunnel has to be extremely strong."


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