Eurostar in the dark over Eurotunnel

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The Independent Online

Eurostar, the cross-Channel train operator, has hit out at the new board of Eurotunnel for keeping it in the dark on its rescue plans.

Eurostar, the cross-Channel train operator, has hit out at the new board of Eurotunnel for keeping it in the dark on its rescue plans.

Eurotunnel, the heavily indebted owner of the Channel Tunnel, has spent nearly a month on a new plan after shareholders ousted the company's previous board of directors.

But Eurostar, which is Eurotunnel's largest customer, is concerned that it is being kept out of the loop. A spokesman for Eurostar said: "We think that it is bizarre that they haven't even phoned. We are their biggest customer, their largest revenue generator. I would have though that they would be interested in our views."

Eurostar - which ran its 10,000th passenger service though the Channel Tunnel yesterday - was closely involved in Project Galaxie, the restructuring proposals devised by Eurotunnel's former board.

But Eurotunnel's new board, headed by chief executive Jean-Louis Raymond, has ripped up those plans and is midway through formulating a new strategy for reducing the company's £6.4bn debts.

Eurostar, which has seen a recent increase in passenger numbers, is keen to meet with Eurotunnel as 40 per cent of its turnover currently goes on fees for using the Channel Tunnel.

EWS, the rail freight com- pany which runs through the Channel Tunnel, confirmed that it too had yet to hear from Eurotunnel. "We are seeking meetings with the new board," said a spokesman.

The Department for Transport, which was involved in the original Eurotunnel rescue, has also been kept in the dark. "We have not met the new board and we do not have any plans to do so," said a spokesman.

Only the French government has been contacted by Eurotunnel's new team. A Eurotunnel spokesman said: "We have had meetings with the French finance minister. Other meetings will be planned in due course."

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