Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission

Home page > Unified safety rules consultation

Unified safety rules consultation

The Intergovernmental Commission began, in 2009, a review of the safety rules relating to passenger trains that are specific to the Channel Tunnel, to ensure that these are not an unnecessary barrier to new services who might be operating through the tunnel.

This included a review of requirements for passenger trains to be "splittable" and to have a locomotive at each end.

The Commission wrote to major stakeholders, to seek their views, on 21 July 2009, seeking responses by 15 September. 20 responses were received and a consultation meeting with those involved was held in London on 16 November 2009. A further meeting took place on 26 February 2010.

Following the consultation, the IGC published its conclusions in a letter to consultees from Christian Parent, Chairman of the IGC, on 31 March 2010. The letter, in both English and French versions, and the list of consultees, can be found via the links below.

List of recipients Word (30.5 kb)

Update June 2011: New operating rule for types of traction

IGC has accepted, by letter dated 14 June 2011, a new Eurotunnel operating rule concerning the types of electric traction that can be authorised in the Tunnel. The rule is as follows:

“With reference to Article A 1 55 of appendix 1 of the Concession Agreement, all new trains, whether equipped with concentrated power or distributed power, can be permitted to operate in the concession only if all the other provisions of the present rules are met - noting in particular the sections that relate to the presence of a driver’s cab at each end of the train and protective measures against fire in traction elements. In these circumstances, applicants must meet the requirements of EC regulation 352/2009 setting out a common safety method on risk assessment and evaluation.”

Safety rules specific to freight trains transiting the Tunnel

A second consultation, this time on freight trains, was published on 30 March 2011, again seeking the views of stakeholders on a number of safety-related issues. The IGC aims to be able to reach its conclusions and undertake the necessary work of amendment of the tunnel regulations on freight trains before the end of the first half of 2011. Please therefore send us your comments by 31 May 2011.

Consultation on the rules for freight trains transiting the tunnel

The IGC’s project is already underway, under the leadership of the CTSA and with the involvement of Eurotunnel and the knowledge of ERA.

Update September 2012: New operating rule for types of traction

Following a review of the rules, the IGC accepted that the specific rules regarding smoke tightness, traction performance and diesel traction for rolling stock using the Channel Tunnel were no longer required.

Letter 21 September 2012 PDF (395.1 kb)

Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) Notified safety rules: IGC draft recommendation to Member States

IGC sought the views of stakeholders on its proposed new notification of “national” safety rules for the Channel Tunnel, following an administrative review of our original notification in 2008.

Please address any comments to the IGC’s secretariat (martin.jones orr.gsi.gov.uk and francois.blasin developpement.durable.gouv.fr) no later than 30 October 2014.

Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission (IGC): National rule for LOC & PAS TSI, clause 7.3.2.21

The new “rolling stock – locomotives and passenger rolling stock” (LOC&PAS) TSI came into force in January 2015. The TSI includes a specific case for the Channel Tunnel requiring trains to have 30 minutes running capability and fire protection in case of fire, instead of the standard TSI requirement for category B passenger trains of 15 minutes running capability and fire protection. However, the specific case also states that a running capability of 15 minutes may be permitted “under the condition specified in the national rule notified by the Channel tunnel safety authority for this purpose". The IGC sought the views of stakeholders on the additional risk analysis to be provided by applicants as out included in Appendix 2 of the document below.

Further to consultation responses the IGC accepted the following rule at its meeting on 1 October 2015 and asked the two Member States to notify the European Commission accordingly.

"For passenger trains of 15 minutes’ running capacity, a further risk assessment will be required. This will demonstrate that using them maintains or improves the level of safety in the Channel Tunnel. This further risk assessment will have to analyse the consequences for passengers of not having enough running capacity to exit the tunnel. The applicant will supply this assessment. The analysis must guarantee evacuation of the train into the service tunnel in less than 15 minutes from detection of the fire. It will consider the operating rules defined in paragraph 4.4 of the tunnel safety TSI (except clause 4.4.1.c), the features of the passenger train (layout and number of passengers) and the criteria specified by the IGC in annexe 2. The applicant will have to draw up this analysis using the information supplied by the manager of the Channel Tunnel infrastructure. It will undergo verification by an accredited/appointed third assessment body, as defined in. the MSC, for risk assessment and appraisal. The IGC will examine the safety assessment report during the authorisation process.

Due to the specific risks relating to trains which carry both road vehicles and passengers, the current national rule does not apply to them."