The last track panel was installed on Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) section two last week, completing the high-speed line all the way from the Channel Tunnel to the international terminus at St Pancras, central London.
Placing of the 10m long rail and sleeper assembly, just outside St Pancras, symbolises completion of the civil engineering component of the £5.8bn CTRL, which was last week rebranded High Speed 1 (News last week).Section one, from Folkestone to Fawkham Junction in Kent, opened to high-speed Eurostar trains in 2003.Work on section two, from Fawkham Junction to St Pancras, started in 2001. Although civils work is finished, line electrification and signalling is still to be completed and commissioned. Fit out of St Pancras International and the international stations at Ebbsfleet and Stratford has also to be completed.'There have been some heroic achievements on this project,' said Rail Link Engineering (RLE) project director Brian Sedar, 'but we're not finished yet. We can't take our eye off the ball. There's still a lot to do...' RLE is a joint venture of Arup, Bechtel, Halcrow and Systra, which has been responsible for designing and managing construction of the line.Over the past five years the project has involved tunnelling under the River Thames, crossing approaches to the M25 Dartford Crossing and QEII Bridge, and Wennington and Rainham Marshes on viaduct, and driving twin-bore tunnels from Dagenham to St Pancras.