The great escape through the tunnel to Paris is delayed for another year

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The Independent Online
(Photograph omitted)

A VIRTUALLY deserted Channel tunnel terminal near Folkestone yesterday. It should have been alive with trains, tourists and lorry drivers as 15 June was the opening day agreed between Eurotunnel and the contractors, Transmanche Link. But there was only a British Rail train that seemed to have got lost among the empty platforms.

The opening date has been postponed until 'as early as possible in the New Year' because of delays in delivery of rolling stock, more stringent safety requirements and the row between TML and Eurotunnel. No date for the start of services can be set until the row has been settled, but the official opening with ceremonial trains carrying the Queen and President Francois Mitterrand is likely to be on 6 May 1994.

Shuttle trains carrying lorries could run before that date but the Eurostar passenger services between London and Paris and London and Brussels will not start until next summer at the earliest. The first Eurostar to come to Britain is due to be towed through the tunnel from France on Sunday for testing.