Monday 29 Sep 2003


Region & Route:
| Southern
Network Rail took operational control of the high speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link on Sunday 29 September. Ownership of CTRL phase 1 remains with London and Continental Railways (LCR), but Network Rail has taken on full responsibility for operation and maintenance of the high-speed line. A dedicated team, at Ashford, who are responsible for the day to day operations, signalling, electrical control, engineering and maintenance of the CTRL. The team also provides a range of other important services for CTRL including, operational control, timetabling, customer liaison with Eurostar and management of the CTRL performance regime.  It is Britain’s first major new railway for over a century and Eurostar services operate at speeds of up to 300 km per hour (186 miles per hour), slashing journey times from Waterloo to the tunnel by around 15 minutes.  Services operating from Waterloo International to Fawkham Junction run over existing routes, which have been substantially upgraded by Network Rail to provide greater capacity and reliability.  At the heart of this work is the new grade separated junction at Shortlands, which eliminates conflicting movements and unlocks capacity for Eurostar, Connex and freight services. Union Railways constructed the 46 mile long, £1.9bn Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), which was brought into use for passengers yesterday.  The link stretches from the Channel Tunnel at Cheriton and includes a tunnel beneath the North Downs and a superb viaduct over the River Medway before reaching Fawkham Junction on the existing Swanley to Rochester route. Network Rails Regional Director Robin Gisby said, “Building CTRL is a great achievement and Network Rail are pleased to play their part in delivering a new era of high speed, high quality rail services in the UK.”

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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