Chunnel slams plan to axe HS2 link to Europe

Marion Dakers
THE BOSS of Eurotunnel has said plans to axe the link between High Speed 2 and the railway to the Continent are “a mistake” that will cost more in lost productivity than the £700m saved.

Jacques Gounon said “with a significant investment like this you’re making the wrong saving by not achieving such connections”, arguing that the high-speed link to the Channel Tunnel produced a big bump in traffic once it was fully open in 2007.

“You have clear evidence that it you want to make such an investment you have to make the full investment. If it is only 95 per cent, we are losing more than five per cent of the full benefit,” he told City A.M.

HS2’s new chairman, Sir David Higgins, said last month that he intends to scrap the rail link from Euston to King’s Cross, which would have allowed direct services from the north of England into Europe through the Channel Tunnel.

Gounon’s comments came as Eurotunnel posted an eight per cent rise in revenues for the first quarter of the year. Most of the group’s €260.5m turnover comes from fares on vehicle shuttle trains and track charges for freight carriers and the Eurostar.

Gounon said Eurotunnel’s track charges had increased less than inflation, shrugging off recent complaints from Eurostar and the EU that the fees are excessive.