Eurotunnel halfway back to normal

Eurotunnel has said that half the normal number of trains are now running after the reopening of a section of track that was closed following the fire on September 11.

Spokesman John Keefe said: "We have reopened the first 17km (10.6-mile) stretch of smoke-damaged track in the north tunnel, and things are running smoothly with no reported problems.

"We are now running almost 170 trains a day - including 44 Eurostars, 90 truck shuttles and 29 passenger shuttles from Folkestone.

"We hope to increase this capacity further when we reopen the second 17km interval shortly."

Unlike the last major fire in 1996, the latest occurred at a greater distance - 2.5 miles - from the second and last crossover point, the junctions linking the tracks between the north and south tunnels.

This has meant that trains can travel along undamaged sections of the north tunnel and then cross over the central service tunnel into the undamaged south tunnel.

In the seven days from September 15, the Port of Dover had a 34% increase in freight vehicles to more than 55,286 and a 62% rise in the number of coaches to 2,657 compared with the week before the tunnel fire.

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