Transport: Tunnel traffic recovers from fire

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Channel tunnel shuttle trains are now carrying nearly as many vehicles as they did before the massive underground fire, Eurotunnel announced yesterday.

Le Shuttle carried nearly 124,000 vehicles last month, more than 40,000 more than in January and 5.5 per cent more than in February 1996. Despite reduced capacity, Le Shuttle has now recovered 80 per cent of the market share it achieved last October - the month before the fire.

The number of passengers using the London to Paris and Brussels Eurostar trains through the tunnel also rose last month. Eurostar carried nearly 392,000 passengers in February compared with just over 299,000 in the same month last year.

Through-freight trains using the tunnel carried 218,238 tonnes last month compared with 190,078 tonnes in February 1996. The Le Shuttle freight train service is still to restart after the fire. Eurotunnel is currently carrying out repair work in the damaged section of tunnel and hopes to be running to full capacity by June.