Eurotunnel fully open to traffic - Secretary of State for Transport, Geoff Hoon, gives departure signal for inaugural train
After only three and a half months of work, Eurotunnel is today, 9 February 2009, once again, fully open to traffic between the United Kingdom and Continental Europe.
At 3pm, local time, on the Folkestone Terminal, Secretary for Transport, Geoff Hoon, gave the departure signal for the first commercial Shuttle service to cross between the UK and France via Interval six of the North Tunnel since 11 September 2008.
On board the Truck Shuttle were 30 heavy goods vehicles and their drivers. The crossing took just 32 minutes at full operating speed.
From today Eurotunnel Shuttles will again be able to travel through the Channel Tunnel at normal operating speeds, bringing crossing times back to just 35 minutes. Eurostar will shortly be back to normal journey times for London to Paris (2hrs 15) and London to Brussels (1hr 51).
Geoff Hoon, Secretary of State for Transport said,
“This really is a fantastic achievement. Eurotunnel has done a magnificent job in bringing this vital piece of European high-speed transport infrastructure back into full service so quickly.”
Jacques Gounon, Chairman and Chief Executive of Eurotunnel declared,
“The departure signal given by The Secretary of State for Transport is a tribute to the staff of this company who have completed the reconstruction project under budget and ahead of schedule. We take encouragement from this moment. From here we intend to step up and expand our business.”