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Siemens to supply new Eurostar trains

The Local · 7 Oct 2010, 10:25

Published: 07 Oct 2010 10:25 GMT+02:00

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The order is a setback for French firm Alstom as rail competition begins to heat up on the continent.

"Eurostar International intends to order ten high-speed Velaro trains from Siemens for its London-Paris route," a statement said. "Eurostar plans to invest some €800 million in the purchase of new trains and the overhaul and refurbishment of its existing train fleet," it added.

The deal is nonetheless subject to completion of talks on final terms, said Eurostar, an international railway operator dominated by the French group SNCF.

The announcement comes as German rail operator Deutsche Bahn prepares to offer services to London for the Summer Olympics in 2012, meaning that for the first time two European railway operators will compete on a cross border route that does not connect their respective countries.

The order announced on Thursday will expand Eurostar's current fleet of 27 trains, "whose design and technology will also be overhauled starting in 2011," the statement said.

Around nine million passengers take the train each year on the Eurostar routes between Brussels, London and Paris.

Deutsche Bahn is to make a much-awaited test run to London on October 19, but Eurostar boss Nicolas Petrovic was quoted as saying the new and renovated trains would "bolster our position as the dominant rail operator between the United Kingdom and the continent."

The Velaro train is one of Siemens' flagship products, and can carry up to 900 passengers, or 20 percent more than trains now in circulation, at 320 kilometres per hour.

It would connect London and Paris in just over two hours, London and Amsterdam in less than four hours, and London and Geneva in about five hours.

Siemens has already sold the trains to railways in China, Russia and Spain, but lost out to Alstom's AGV train in an Italian tender.

A third major rival in the market for high-speed trains is the Canadian group Bombardier, and all pitch their products as environmentally friendly transportation options.

The statement said the Siemens trains, which run on electricity, consumed the equivalent of 0.33 litres of petrol per passenger per 100 kilometres, or "just enough to fill a can of coke."

Story continues below…

France and Britain have fixed conditions for trains that wish to use the Channel tunnel, in particular their length, that are only met by Eurostar trains that now connect London with Brussels and Paris.

That effectively blocks rivals to Eurostar, owned by France's state-owned rival SNCF, its Belgian counterpart SNCB and the British group London and Continental Railways. A working group has been established to review the situation, however, and Eurotunnel has called for rival railways to come forward, suggesting the possibility of offering services between London and Amsterdam or Frankfurt.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:15 October 8, 2010 by DinhoPilot
If the train ticket and airplane ticket cost around the same why da hell would someone take the Train?

In a airplane you travel faster to your destination and its way safer than metal box rolling at 300km/h in a nunch of metal tracks. The trains can be easily subject to terrorist attacks...

Decrease the stupid fees and taxes and let people soar!
15:06 October 8, 2010 by freechoice
(The statement said the Siemens trains, which run on electricity, consumed the equivalent of 0.33 litres of petrol per passenger per 100 kilometres, or "just enough to fill a can of coke.")

now why can't they put this kind of mileage into our automobiles?
04:03 October 9, 2010 by countgregor
I really don't know what your complaining about. Here in America our trains only go 120kph. Can you nice folks-[and my cousins] help us backward Americans out? Seimans wants to supply trains to the US-but are under the illusion that all we have to do is run freight trains at night. The USA is so big that we can't put our freight trains away for the daylight hours. It would be nice to go from Rochester NY to New York City in 2 hours. It now takes 6 hours. Help !!!!!
15:28 October 9, 2010 by DepotCat
I hope they are better than the Siemens built Class 444/450 units used on South West Trains in the U.K. The seats are uncomfortable, the noisy air conditioning finds it hard to cope on hot days, and the bounce over rough track is something else. A real step back from the Class 442s that they replaced.
02:48 October 10, 2010 by deep_schismic
@DinhoPilot: Because train travel is ALOT more comfortable and hassle-free than packed-in-can-like-sardines that most air travel is nowadays, and that in some cases it pretty much works out to take the same amount of time door-to-door, and not to mention that it is WAY more environmentally friendly...
02:19 October 11, 2010 by mikecowler
THE French train maker Alstom and French ministers are calling for Eurostar's acquisition of Siemens Velaro trains to be quashed, on the grounds that the rolling stock will not comply with Channel Tunnel safety rules.

Eurostar unveiled a mock-up of its new e320 train in London, at an event attended by transport secretary Philip Hammond.

The new trains are due in service in 2014, and will allow Eurostar to expand its network to such destinations as Geneva, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Lyon....

These tunnels are the safest in Europe at the moment.....MY PERSONAL VIEW is on grounds of safety current DB ICE trains should NOT be allowed through the tunnel in passenger service..
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