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24Sep92 UK: BRITISH RAIL DEVELOPS DOZEN POSSIBLE ROUTES TO LINK CHANNEL TUNNEL WITH LONDON.

British Rail is developing up to a dozen possible routes for the high-speed rail link to connect the Channel Tunnel with London.The options will be given to Government in December, with a decision expected next spring.The Government has told BR to provide variations to Over-Arup's original route bearing in mind the regeneration potential, private sector involvement, environmental impact, commuter use and cost of each option.One proposal aimed at saving an estimated £100 million from the project cost involves the route shadowing the M25 around Ashford. The original scheme proposes tunnelling beneath the town.Plans to redevelop Ashford's Network SouthEast station into an £80 million international railway interchange would be unaffected by the M25 option. Branch lines would connect Ashford to the high-speed line.Union Railways, the subsidiary of BR charged with planning the rail link will not discuss the options because of concern about land blight.But a spokesman admitted: 'We are looking at cost savings as part of a series of options to present to Government.'