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News, Tips & Bargains : Another Delay in the Chunnel

March 06, 1994

Operators of the Channel Tunnel that will connect England and France say the costly and oft-delayed project has hit another snag and that services set to begin in coming weeks will be delayed again.

A spokeswoman for Eurotunnel, the French-English company that built and operates the so-called "Chunnel," stressed last week that routine testing of trains and track is responsible for the delay and that "no fundamental (safety) problem has emerged."

Cargo transportation through the Chunnel on Le Shuttle trains, set to begin Monday, will be the first service affected. Officials said service will start in several weeks, but did not specify a date. The opening of Le Shuttle service for cars, set for May 8, also will face a delay, operators say.

However, the official inauguration of the facility--with no less than Queen Elizabeth II and France's President Francois Mitterrand presiding--will go on as planned on May 6, a Eurotunnel spokeswoman said.

Eurostar--the passenger trains that will whisk riders between London and Paris in about three hours via the tunnel--is set to begin limited service sometime in July, spokesmen said.

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