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CTRL case ' marginal' , warns NAO

The economic justification for the £5 billion Channel Tunnel

high-speed rail link (CTRL) 'remains marginal', a report from a

Government spending watchdog said today.

And an overestimation of passenger revenues may mean taxpayers

having to fork out more money that was originally forecast, the

National Audit Office (NAO) report added.

NAO chief Sir John Bourn said that 'uncertainties remain' about

the project, which will eventually provide a fast link for Eurostar

trains between London and the Channel Tunnel at Folkestone in Kent.

And House of Commons Public Accounts Committee chairman Edward

Leigh said the scheme, although 'bold and prestigious', needed careful watching by the Department for Transport.

Built by London and Continental Railways (LCR), the first section

of the link - from Folkestone to north Kent - was completed in

September 2003 and the second, and final, section from north Kent to

St Pancras in north London will be completed in 2007.

Part of the link will be used to speed spectators from central

London to the 2012 Olympics in east London.

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