The committee wants the special rules and regulatory authority governing access to, and the use of the Channel Tunnel to be abolished. It says there should be direct governance by the British and French national regulators, and European Union safety standards should apply in full to the tunnel. "It is not a unique safety case and does not require unique standards," the committee says.
The Channel Tunnel's unique safety rules have proved a major obstacle to the introduction of new types of passenger train, and are continuing to do so.
German Rail (DB) announced today that it will delay the introduction of its ICE services from Frankfurt and Amsterdam to London from December 2013 to 2015. Siemens, which is building Velaro D class 407 high-speed trains for the service, confirmed to IRJ that DB has not yet ordered Channel Tunnel-specific safety equipment for the train and that retrofitting it and gaining certification for it will take more than a year. In addition, the trains have yet to receive approval to operate in Germany.
The committee also wants access charges to be reviewed and reduced to encourage more users, and border controls to be streamlined. But Eurotunnel has to maintain high revenues to pay back its debt and cannot be subsidised. The British government opposes any relaxation of border controls.