Channel Tunnel Rail Link Section 1

Stuart Foreman, 2004 (updated 2018)

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Stuart Foreman
Senior Project Manager
Oxford Archaeology (South)
Janus House
Osney Mead
Tel: 01865 263800
Fax: 01865 793496

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Project Introduction

picture of a train

The construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), now known as High Speed 1, has provided a unique opportunity to investigate thousands of years of change and development across the landscape. The archaeological programme of works associated with the CTRL is probably the largest ever undertaken in the UK and investigations in advance of and during construction have revealed an impressively rich array of information. This has generated a vast archive of archaeological data and key discoveries have included the first Neolithic long-house to be found in Kent, a Romano-British villa and two Anglo-Saxon cemeteries.

The CTRL project consider the placement of digital elements of the archaeological archive as a key element of the overall dissemination strategy with the result that the digital data produced is being placed on the ADS website. This is being carried out in a series of phases, which relate to the way that the CTRL was constructed. Those wishing to understand the project's aims may find it useful to consult the Research Strategy.

The first part of the high speed rail link was referred to as SECTION 1 and was constructed through the county of Kent from the Channel Tunnel portal near Folkestone to the south of Gravesend. This section opened in 2003. The information presented here relates ONLY to this part of the CTRL.

The FIRST PHASE of site information was uploaded in 2005 and included details of the extensive fieldwork evaluation stage and the subsequent interim reports on fieldwork mitigation excavations. This information is still accessible but has been reduced in prominence. It should be noted that in particular these early stages of the archaeological works were not designed to be digitally presented in the way that is consistent with current practice . This highlights the rapidity with which the technology has progressed during the lifetime of the CTRL works. Hence the user must be aware that the ability to enquire into the data, especially using figures, is not to the standards now expected.

The SECOND PHASE of site information uploaded includes the entirety of the subsequent archaeological programme of works. Documents such as the CTRL Research Strategy, the Written Schemes of Investigation for the route and post excavation strategy documents are provided to allow researchers to understand the scale and scope of the works. A list of these documents can be found in the Using the Resource section.

Of key interest to the specialist researcher will be the individual integrated site reports for the fieldwork mitigation excavations, and the scheme wide specialist and research reports. A list of these documents can be found using the Site List or the Advanced Search.

This use of the world wide web will enable researchers to study the findings online anywhere in the world. It is the first time that ADS have worked with commercially sponsored research on such a scale.

Further digital archive information is being prepared for Section 2, which traverses the Ebbsfleet Valley in Kent, Thurrock in Essex and London. Further announcements will be made regarding the availability and location of this data.

Background to the Channel Tunnel Rail Link

The Channel Tunnel Rail Link is the first new railway to be built in Britain for over a century and is the country's first high speed railway. The high-speed line runs for 109km (68 miles) between St Pancras Sstation in London and the Channel Tunnel and was built in two sections. The first 74 km section of the CTRL lies entirely within Kent and runs from Fawkham Junction (Gravesham) to Folkestone; that section was finished in September 2003. The full route of the high speed railway was opened in November 2006.

The CTRL project was a Public-Private partnership between Her Majesty's Government and London and Continental Railways Ltd (LCR). Union Railways (South) Ltd - subsequently CTRL UK Ltd - and Union Railways (North) Ltd, subsidiaries of LCR were responsible for the construction of the CTRL. Design, procurement and project management of the CTRL is undertaken by Rail Link Engineering, a consortium of Bechtel, Arup, Halcrow and Systra. The project received royal assent in 1996 with the granting of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act. With the Act came a series of environmental undertakings that included the mitigation of the impact of construction on the archaeological and built heritage resources.

The nature of this extensive project has resulted in a complex hierarchy of site reporting, it is therefore suggested that those wishing to understand this resource fully should take time to read the sections on the project and reporting structure and the project overview and scheme wide resources pages.

They may also find the section on using the resource helpful.

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