§ Sir Brandon Rhys Williams
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the most recent estimate of the effect on the demand for air transport facilities in the London area of opening a direct rail link for passengers, vehicles and freight under the Channel.
§ Mr. Tebbit
I am informed that the Department of Transport is currently considering a feasibility study published in January 1979 by British Rail, for a single-track rail-only tunnel. This is based upon traffic projections of 6 million passenger movements in 1988, the first year of operation, rising to 8 million in 2000. A return trip involves two passenger movements. The majority of these passengers are likely to be diverted from shipping services, and it is estimated that diversion from air services is likely to be well below a year's traffic growth. I understand that there is at present no plan to carry vehicles, and I doubt if the carriage of freight in the tunnel will affect air services to any measurable extent.