Operators of the Channel Tunnel announced introductory fares from $73 for round-trip train journeys that will take cars under the sea between England and France.

The so-called "Le Shuttle" service, which begins next Thursday, will compete with ferries sailing between Dover, England, and Calais, France.The 35-minute train trip is about 40 minutes faster than the average ferry crossing-- with no possibility of seasickness.

"While we will not enter a price war, we are confident that we will attract customers to our fast, reliable and hassle-free transport system," said Christopher Garnett, commercial director of Euro-tunnel PLC.

The fares, which Eurotunnel describes as "special promotion," will apply until March, when new prices for the peak summer season will be announced.