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High Speed 1

Medway Crossing, Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

General Information

Function / usage: High-speed rail line
Other name(s): Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL)
Built: 1998 - 2007
Status: in use

Geographic Information & Related Structures

km Name

Technical Information


total length 109 km
length of bored tunnels 23 km
number of road bridges 62
number of rail bridges 60
number of footbridges 30
1 (EuroTunnel - Fawkham Junction)
Section length 74 km
2 (Southfleet - Saint Pancras)
Section length 39 km


ballast 850 000 t
excavated material 14 000 000 m³
volume of earthworks 5 000 000 m³

Design Loads

design speed 300 km/h


cost of construction United States dollar 5 200 000 000


December 1986

The Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act is passed by British parliament.

February 1987

The Channel Tunnel Act receives Royals Assent. Waterloo is identified as England's first international train terminal.

July 1987

King's Cross is chosen as second terminal by British Rail to provide additional capacity to cope with Channel Tunnel trains.

July 1988

Four potential routes are identified by British Rail.

December 1988

The UK government decides to involve the private sector and six consortia are invited to tender for a BOT scheme.

January 1989

The Channel Tunnel Rail Link Team is set up within British Rail.

March 1989

British Rail chooses the preferred corridor.

October 1991

The Government decides on an alternative route developped by Ove Arup & Partners using an easterly approach.

March 1993
- October 1993

Public consultation.

January 1994

The UK Government confirms most of the route and decides on Saint Pancras as the London terminus.

January 1994
- March 1994

Further public consultations.

April 1994

Nine bids are received to pre-qualify for a competition to select the private sector BOT promoter for CTRL.

May 1994

Official opening of the Channel Tunnel.

June 1994

Four consortia are pre-qualified and invited to tender: Green Arrow (JV of Hochtief, Costain, Nishimatsu, Siemens), Eurorail (BICC, GEC, HSBC Holdings, National Westminster Bank, Seeboard, Trafalgar House); LCR (Arup, Bechtel, Blue Circle, Halcrow, National Express, Virgin, Warburg); Union Link (AEG, WS Atkins, Philipp Holzmann, Mowlem, Spie Batignolles, Taylor Woodrow).

August 1994

The UK Government announces an intermediate station at Ebbsfleet. The competition is launched to find the BOT consortium to build the CTRL.

November 1994

Introduction of the CTRL Bill to the House of Commons.

June 1995

The LCR and Eurorail consortia are shortlisted.

December 1995

The announcement of the winner is postponed to allow for more time to review and revise bids.

February 1996

The Channel Tunnel Treaty is signed by Margaret Thatcher and François Mitterand.

February 1996

The UK Government and the LCR consortium sign the contract to design, build, finance and operate the CTRL. Ownership of European Passenger Services Ltd, the UK arm of the Eurostar train operations, is transferred to LCR.

December 1996

The CTRL bill receives Royal Assent.

March 1997

Creation of the Rail Link Engineering (RLE) consortium.

April 1997

First tenders are issued.

June 1997

Begins of advance works diverting 15 km of electricity cables und der the A2 near near Gravesend (Kent).

October 1998

Construction of Section 1 begins.

March 1999

Contract 420 for mid-Kent section is awarded to Hochtief/Norwest Holst, valued at around 85 million pounds.

January 2000

Systemwide constact 570 (valued at 120 million pounds) for design and supply of track, overhead lins and electrical and mechanical systems for Section 1 is awarded to AMEC Spie Rail Systems.

February 2000

The last contract for Section 1 - systemwide contract 550 valued at 56 million pounds - is awarded to the CCA consortium made up of CSEE Transport, Corning Communications and Amey Rail. The contract is to procure, install, test and commission the signalling, train control and communication systems.

July 2000

Bridge House, a 16th century listed timber-framed house, is moved sideways (55 meters) to a new location away from the alignment of the CTRL route.


Construction of Section 2 begins.

January 2001

First major contracts are awarded for Section 2. Contract 230 is awarded to Skanska Construction UK, Contract 320 to Hochtief and J Murphy & Sons.

February 2001

Contracts 135, 220, 240 and 250 are awarded.

May 2001

First dedicated tracks are laid at Fawkham Junction (Kent).

July 2001

Completion of North Downs Tunnel, 5 months ahead of schedule and 5 million pounds below budget.

July 2001

Groundbreaking for Section 2 by Transport Minister John Spellar in Stratford.

August 2001

Saint Pancras extension, contract 105, is awarded. The contract is later combined with no. 108.

January 2002

Contract 342 worth 120 million pounds is awarded. It covers the construction of 3.5 km of the CTRL between Thames Tunnel and Section 1 interface at Pepper Hill.

July 2002

Contract 588 for the mechanical and electrical systems of Section 2 is awarded.

August 2002

Track and overhead catenary systems contract 576 is awarded to ACT Joint Venture.

September 2002

Carillion Rail is awarded the first maintenance contract M01 for Section 1.

October 2002

Tender invitations are sent out for contracts 232 and 340 which include the Stratford and Ebbsfleet stations, respectively.

February 2003
- April 2003

Section 1 is energized. The overhead current of 25 000 Volts powers the trains between Fawkham Junction and Channel Tunnel.

April 2003

The Camden Council transport depot (contract 125) is opened.

July 2003

The UK rail an speed record is broken by a Eurostar train reaching 334.7 km/h on Section 1.

27 September 2003

Opening of the first section to regular train traffic.

March 2006

Testing to begin on Section 2.

March 2007

Construction of Section 2 complete.


LCR = Bechtel Ltd + SG Warburg & Co + National Express Group PLC + SYSTRA + London Electricity PLC + Arup Group Ltd + Sir William Halcrow & Partners Ltd.

RLE = Rail Link Engineering = Bechtel Ltd + Ove Arup & Partners Ltd + Sir William Halcrow & Partners Ltd + SYSTRA.

Expected travel times in 2007:

  • Paris to St Pancras: 2h20
  • Brussels to St Pancras: 2h35
  • up to 8 Eurostar Trains per hour.


Project management
(role unknown)
Contract 102
Contract 103
Contract 104A
Contract 104B
Contract 104C
Contract 104E
Contract 104F
Contract 104G
Contract 104H
Contract 105 (Saint Pancras Station)
Contract 124
Contract 135
Contract 137
Contract 138
Contract 220 (London Portal)
Contract 230 (Stratford Box)
Contract 240 (Stratford - Barrington Road)
Contract 250 (Barrington Road - Ripple Lane)
Contract 302
Contract 303
Contract 310
Contract 320 (Thames Tunnel)
Contract 330
Contract 339A
Contract 339B
Contract 339C
Contract 340
Construction management
Contract 342
Contract 361
Contract 365
Contract 410 (North Downs Tunnel)
Contract 420
Contract 430
Contract 434
Contract 440
Contract 550
Contract 552
Contract 556
Contract 557
Contract 570
Contract 576
Contract 588
Contract CTRL M01

Relevant Web Sites

Relevant Publications

Internal Information
Structure-ID: 10000038
Created: 11/02/2001
Last Updated: 10/11/2014