Rails et Histoire

Final Summit, 5th Conference, Brussels (Belgium), Train World, Thursday 24th May 2018

About the conference The Cross-Channel railway link in a post-Brexit Europe / Final Summit is the fifth international conference on the agenda of Twenty years under the Channel, and beyond ? the research and events programme led by Rails et histoire. Contributors to the conference are invited to present research papers deepening questions raised by the previous conferences of the programme in a post-Brexit Europe and to take a part in the open discussion which is one of its main objectives.


Deadline for submission of abstracts : 15 February 2018 Notification of acceptance 1 March 2018

Deadline for submission of full paper (working paper) 30 April 2018 Deadline for submission of full paper (final paper) for publication 24 June 2018

The conference will be held in English and French.


To celebrate the 20th year in operation of the Cross-Channel fixed link, a programme of scientific events has been launched on 11 June 2014 at the British Embassy in France in the presence of H.E. Sir Peter Ricketts. A round table gathered Mr Jacques Gounon, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of the Eurotunnel Group and Nicolas Petrovic, CEO of Eurostar.

The programme Twenty years under the Channel, and beyond ? strongly encourages the dialogue between the academic world, corporations and administrations. Its international conferences bring together leading academic experts, top managers and policy makers interested in transport infrastructure and economic development, with a focus on the Cross-Channel rail infrastructure between London, Paris and Brussels and beyond.

Since its launch, the research programme Twenty years under the Channel, and beyond ? held four international events of a series of five on its agenda. Each was dedicated to a theme related to the major engineering projects of the 20th century : the Cross-Channel rail infrastructure system, which changed the geography of Europe.

New Aspects of Transport Geography and Economics was the title of the (I) first international conference held on 19 March 2015 in Lille. The debate shed a new light on the dramatic changes occurred since 1994 in traffic flows, access and transport services and induced by the opening of the Cross-Channel rail link. The topic of the (II) second conference, which took place in London on 8 December 2015, was Capital and governance in major infrastructure projects. It stimulated a debate on how to best raise capital to fund major infrastructure projects. The significance of their governance was also evidenced at this occasion. The (III) third conference on the agenda (Canterbury, 16 March 2016), aimed at assessing the effects of Cross-Channel rail link operations on the economy of the regions involved over the last two decades : primarily Kent, Nord Pas-de-Calais and Flanders - keeping in mind the longer reach of road freight using the Shuttle and through-train freight services -, but also the three capital cities served by Cross-Channel rail services : London, Paris and Brussels. The (IV) fourth conference, hosted by Brunel University London on 12 October 2016, considered changes in the definition and control of the Anglo-French border and migrations flows through it or retained in Calais area.

The proceedings of the conferences, available at www.ahicf.com, provide updated data and analysis on these themes.


The Cross-Channel railway link is the largest infrastructure project of the 20th Century. The tunnel and connected high-speed lines constitute a pharaonic and successful technical achievement. They carried 400 million passengers since 1994 with the highest safety records.

Beyond the tunnel, the Cross-Channel link is a unique case of interdependent infrastructures, giving shape to a complex transport system including the Channel Tunnel Railway Link (CTRL, now High Speed 1), continental ‘LGV’s (high speed trains dedicated lines), Eurostar services, High Speed 2 project, not to mention the substantial road access built around the tunnel and further developments in Kent and Northern France regions.

Contributors are invited to submit papers on the following topics, but not limited to them, paying particular attention to changes occurred since the British referendum of 23 June 2016 :


- How can be explained the difference between traffic forecast and realisations ?
- How can be explained the difference between traffic forecast and realisations ?
- Has the new technology system of the fixed link overall created traffic or can changes in traffic since 1994 be related to routes concentration, modal split and economic growth ?
- What is its impact on leisure travel ? (e.g. impact of Shuttle versus sea-crossing, day or weekend trips by Eurostar versus ferry lines)


- Have the regions served by the new railway infrastructure benefited from agglomeration effects ? Has overall economic performance increased ?
- What are the effects on regional labour markets ? On the compared attractivity of the three capitals deserved ?


- How did public and private finance respectively pay the fixed link system ? Beyond the tunnel itself, whose private debt and equity was restructured, various public instruments where mobilised to fund its road access and the railway infrastructure and services to London
- Which governance patterns can be identified as best practices for cross-border infrastructure projects ?


- The Cross-Channel fixed link was conceived by the British and French governments in the 1980s to facilitate British integration in Europe. Yet, in a referendum on 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to exit the European Union. How can we explain this evolution ?
- Is the fixed link a Franco-British endeavour, a European or a national one ?
- What is the contribution of Belgian railways and economic leaders ?


- The Franco-British structure of Eurotunnel and Eurostar is a challenge for their daily operations. How do they answer to it ? Has a multinational corporate culture emerged from their experience ?


- Building the Channel Tunnel meant drawing the first land border ever between the UK and France. How did the Canterbury Treaty (1986) and subsequent agreements related to the Channel Tunnel change the definition, perception and control of the border between Britain and the Continent ?

- To what extent has the railway link influenced cross-border cooperation between other neighbouring countries ?

Steering Committee, responsible for the scientific programme of the conference

- Professor Helen Drake, Professor of French and European Studies, Jean Monnet Chair in European Integration, Director, Academy of Diplomacy and International Governance, Chair of the University Association for European Studies, Loughborough University ; Research Leader, Economic & Social Research Council Brexit Project, King’s College, London ; Member of the Scientific Board of Advisers for the Programme Twenty years under the Channel, and beyond ?
- Professeur Pauline Schnapper, professeur de civilisation britannique contemporaine à l’université Sorbonne-Nouvelle – Paris 3, membre de l’Institut Universitaire de France ; membre du Conseil scientifique du programme Vingt années sous la Manche, et au-delà ?

Submission of abstracts, working papers and full papers

1. Abstracts Abstracts may refer to research papers or case studies or first-hand accounts by actors. Abstracts should not exceed 1 000 words (Arial 12 pts, with bibliography) and include : Title of the paper, keywords, Author, Position, Institution as well as a short CV (maximum 150 words) All abstracts will be peer-reviewed by the scientific program committee based on standard review procedures. Deadline : 15 February 2018.

The submission of abstracts implies : 2. Submission of full paper (no poster presentation) by 30 April 2018. Papers will be circulated among the conference committee and attendees only as working papers before the conference. Full paper should not exceed 8 000 words. 3. 15 minutes oral presentation of the paper by the registered presenter in persona, followed by questions.

Finally, authors are invited to submit their final paper for publication in the conference proceedings (digital and print versions). Deadline 24 June 2018.

All communications should be sent to 20yearschunnel@ahicf.com.

Partner for the Final Summit

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Train World presents the past, present and future of the Belgian railways. There was once an important railway collection which craved for a public to appreciate it and investigators to discover hidden treasures. Then one day the Belgian artist, François Schuiten, was commissioned by the Belgian National Railways (SNCB/NMBS) to devise a concept for this to happen. Train world was born.

Train world is not a museum like any other. It’s a unique rail experience that will take you from the very first steam locomotives to high-speed trains ! It’s a universe that calls on all the senses to understand the railways in its multiple dimensions, and that awakens your emotions. It is a must-see for train lovers and for all those who love discovering new worlds.

Scientific programme governance

The members of the board of scientific advisers for the programme are :
- Prof. Christian de Boissieu, Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne Economics, Financial History
- Prof. Helen Drake, Loughborough University French and European Studies
- Prof. Terence R Gourvish, London School of Economics and Political Sciences Economic History
- Prof. Émile Quinet, École des Ponts – Paris Tech Transport Economics
- Prof. Pauline Schnapper, Université de Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle British Civilisation
- Prof. Roger Vickerman, University of Kent Regional and European Economics, Transport Economics

Programme management

- Sébastien Barbe, Managing Director, Rails et histoire, Paris
- Laurent Bonnaud, PhD in History, Managing Director, Sponte sua sprl, Brussels

Additional information on the programme

The 20 years under the Channel, and beyond ? programme has three targets :

- to ascertain the knowledge available about the Channel Tunnel rail link : experience, expert analyses, written sources, living memory
- to gauge achievements at regional, national and European level and explain any disparities by comparison with the project’s original assumptions
- to draw conclusions for future reference, in particular with regard with funding and operating arrangements for major transport systems.

The target public for the programme is a mixture of transport, town & country planning, finance and economic sector protagonists and scientists, analysts and academics. Communications on the project emphasises subjects likely to strike a chord with the general public : mobility, technology, town & country planning, economics, Europe, regions.

The approach is resolutely multidisciplinary with the aim of prompting exchanges at all levels between the scientific community and players in the field. Particular care is also given to circulating the material on each topic among the various participants, protagonists and scientists, analysts and academics, contributors past and present, for a better and more comprehensive understanding of the Cross-Channel system. It also sets out to foster international exchanges of views, with a focus on the contrasting perspectives of France and the UK.

On a parallel, there is an oral history campaign, with input from those interviewed being immediately submitted to scientific analysis. The programme is also an opportunity to ensure the conservation of archival collections belonging to both companies and individuals, by making their owners aware of the historical value and importance of the documents in their possession and encouraging them to donate them to archival centres.

Working and communications languages : English, French

Distribution of results : academic circuits, specialist media, general media (new media included)

Formats :

- Round Table : professional audience, two hours
- Conference-debate on a specific point / historical issue / famous person
- One-day conference : specialist public on a specific theme
- Seminar : invited guests only, main protagonists and professional audience, on a specific theme
- Summit : all interested publics

Products, deliverables :

- Written synopsis, published book
- Oral history archives on line. Bibliography on line.
- Internet back-up : podcast of conferences, synopses of talks, references, debate.

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