Eurostar at Metro Cammel, awaiting the launch ceremony, 25th May 1994.
© National Railway Museum / Science & Society Picture Library -- All rights reserved
The opening of the Channel Tunnel in 1994 saw the first train service ever between Britain and France. Eurostar services operate between London Waterloo via Ashford in Kent and Paris, Lille and Brusels. Although the locomotives are capable of a maximum speed of 186 mph, they can only operate at 100 mph on the railway lines on the British side of the Channel. This is because the lines are laid very close together so that trains pas each other only about a foot apart. At speeds above 100 mph this creates a safety risk of the presure wave generated breaking windows in the carriages. The building of a new high speed link through Kent with the lines further apart will allow higher operating speeds and is expected to cut journey times by 30 minutes.