LONDON -- Summer bookings on Le Shuttle, the train that
transports vehicles and passengers through the Channel Tunnel, are
running 10% ahead of last year's, according to Eurotunnel.
The company's latest traffic figures show that more than 149,600
cars were carried in March, while 152,900 were carried during the
same period in 1996.
A Eurotunnel spokesman said the figures showed that public
confidence in its service was strong.
"Our attitude surveys show that people are not bothered about
safety in the tunnel," he said.
The figures were announced as Eurotunnel published the findings
of an internal inquiry into a fire last November on a freight
The report revealed that there had been avoidable delays in
getting 31 passengers to the surface in Calais, France.
A spokesman said the company believed the passengers could have
gotten out in about 20 minutes, rather than 86 minutes, and
explained that there had been a failure to implement existing
procedures quickly enough.
However, he pointed out that the official target of evacuating
travelers within 90 minutes had been met.
Eurotunnel also announced measures to improve safety, including
new equipment to improve emergency information systems, reduce the
effects of smoke and minimize fire damage.
Repairs to the tunnel are due for completion on May 15, and Le
Shuttle will be able to run up to four shuttle trains an hour from
In March, 500,900 passengers traveled on Eurostar, the
high-speed passenger train, compared with 389,000 in the same month