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A tale of two terminals

THESE are two terminals for travellers using the Channel tunnel. Both are nearing completion, one on each side of the Channel. But it does not take much to work out which is the British and which the French, writes Christian Wolmar.

At the French one (left), at Coquelles, near Calais, designed by Aeroports de Paris, the roadways for cars entering the area snake elegantly above the perfect circle of an artificial lake.

The lake was designed for the sole reason, according to a Eurotunnel spokesman, of giving it 'a sense of place'.

The British version (right), it is only fair to say, owes more to function than to form.

The comparison, however, is not entirely fair. The French site is nearly three times larger than the British one at Cheriton, near Folkestone, in Kent.

The British architects, BDP, had to work on a site limited by the M20 on one side and a steep escarpment on the other.

Both terminals are said to be '98 per cent' complete, with only landscaping and road surfaces remaining unfinished, even though the tunnel opening has been delayed until next year by hold-ups in the delivery of rolling stock and a dispute between Eurotunnel and the builders, Transmanche Link.

(Photographs omitted)