FOUR large construction contracts totalling almost £400m have been let for Section 2 of Britain’s Channel Tunnel Rail Link. This means all of the major London - North Kent tunnelling contracts have now been awarded. Major engineering work is expected to start in July, which would see the second section opening as planned in 2007.

Union Railways (North) has awarded the £145m Contract 220 covering the 7·5 km twin bored tunnels from London West Portal (near St Pancras) to Stratford to a joint venture of Nishimatsu, Cementation and Skanska. Contract 240 worth £120m covers 4·7 km of twin-bore tunnel between Stratford and Barrington Road. It is to be built by Costain, Skanska and Bachy Soletanche.

A consortium of Edmund Nuttall, Wayss & Freytag and Kier has been awarded a £115m contract to construct the 5·8 km Barrington Road - Ripple Line section, including 5·2 km of twin bored tunnels and 600m of cut-and-cover. Nuttall has also won the £11·5 km Contract 135 to divert roads and utilities ready for redevelopment at St Pancras.

H On February 20 Transport Minister Keith Hill announced that powers had been granted to build Stratford International station and a twin track connection to the North London Line near St Pancras. The link would allow regional services to run between the West Coast Main Line and CTRL.