Channel rail link to pass through Ashford
Today, Roger Freeman, Minister for Public Transport, will disclose details of the final two sections of the 68-mile route between St Pancras and Folkestone which had been held over for further consultation when the rest of the route was announced in January.
Mr Freeman will tell MPs that the Government has chosen the central route through Ashford rather than a northerly route, which it had previously supported. This will be hailed as a victory by environmentalists who had been worried by the damage a more southerly approach would have caused to marshland.
Ashford Borough Council was opposed to the original route that would have gone north of the town because it meant that most trains would have avoided the town altogether and the new international station would have been connected to the main rail link only by a spur.
The compromise was made possible by the planned closure of two army barracks on the central route which now means that this part of the line can stay on the ground for all but a kilometre of tunnel, whereas previously a longer tunnel costing pounds 60m would have been required.
However, the route will require the demolition of about 16 homes and several business premises, including three listed buildings.
Mr Freeman is also expected to reveal that plans to build a tunnel under a major electricity sub-station at Pepper Hill, near Gravesend, Kent, have been scrapped in favour of a route next to the A2.
The finalisation of the route will now allow bids to be drawn up for the line. Its estimated cost has been put at about pounds 3bn and it will open in 2002 at the earliest.
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to come
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say singer's representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
£26000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: SAP Assessor Job T...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor (Employee Rela...
£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Derivatives Risk Commodities Business A...
£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Power & Gas Business Analyst/Subject Ma...