Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Slow progress for Chunnel fire system

Eurotunnel this week insisted that the installation of a fire suppression system in the Channel Tunnel was on schedule even though no contract had been awarded six months after bids were invited.

The operator sought bids for the supply and installation of fire detection and fire suppression systems in the Official Journal of the European Union on 15 May. The deadline for tenders was 29 May but six months later, Eurotunnel said it was not yet ready to award the contract.

“We are still discussing the options with various suppliers,” said a spokesman. He added that the first stage of the project would involve installing a prototype within the tunnel “as early as possible” into 2010.

“We are still discussing the options with various suppliers.”

Eurotunnel spokesman

Halcrow fire safety engineering director Fathi Tarada said that bypassing consultants and contractors and advertising to suppliers was “putting the cart before the horse”.

The spokesman said the preferred option was a fixed fire suppression system at different locations in the tunnels. Intallation is due for completion in 2011.

Eurotunnel began to reexamine its fire safety system after a fire last year cost it £54M in repairs and £180M in lost revenue during its subsequent five month closure. Until then, the system prioritised human safety. But speaking at a conference in Paris last week, Tarada said the operator should instead focus on protecting its infrastructure.

“A lot of people think a fire suppression system is for protecting lives but network integrity in the most important issue,” he said.

Readers' comments (1)

  • It doesn't seem fair to illustrate a story on Eurotunnel with pictures of St Pancras and Eurostar - not the same business/brand at all. You should use a photo of Le shuttle.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.