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Eurostar plans speedy London to Frankfurt link

Eurostar is to extend its high speed rail service to link Frankfurt and Cologne via the Channel Tunnel to London within the next five years, according to a British newspaper report on Monday.

Eurostar plans speedy London to Frankfurt link
Photo: DPA

The Germany-London high-speed rail link will be a direct challenge to European airlines, the Financial Times said.

“By 2016 and 2017 we would like people when they are thinking about travelling to these cities to consider taking Eurostar rather than flying,” Eurostar Chief Executive Nicolas Petrovic told the paper.

Since launching the high-speed link between London, Paris and Brussels in 2007, Eurostar has almost killed off air travel between those cities, said the paper.

The line now carries 9.7 million passengers a year, offering much faster journey times between the city centres than air travel.

But now Eurostar is upping its game as it faces future competition from Deutsche Bahn. Germany’s train operator won a long battle with French state operator SNCF two years ago to gain access to the tunnel linking Britain and France.

Eurostar – 55 percent of which is owned by SNCF – has until now enjoyed a monopoly on travel through the Channel Tunnel.

But Deutsche Bahn is set on launching a competing ICE service by the end of 2015, said the paper, speeding passengers between Frankfurt and London via Cologne in an estimated five hours.

Still, Deutsche Bahn will have to pay above the odds for the privilege of using the line.

Petrovic thought at least one other competitor would get into the tunnel along with Deutsche Bahn, he told the paper, but said the opening up of the high-speed rail market was a good way to tackle the dominance of the airlines.

“The key growth area for us is to take market share off airlines and if more [train] operators come in it will grow the whole market for high-speed rail,” he said.

Now in an ambitious move, Petrovic said Eurostar would expand its service from its international hub in London not only to German cities, but also to Amsterdam, Lyon, Marseille and Geneva over the next five years.

The expansion will coincide with Eurostar taking delivery of ten German-made Siemens trains big enough to seat 900 passengers, scheduled from the end of 2014.

The deal sparked a row between Germany and France in 2010 when French engineering giant Alstom tried to stop Eurostar buying the trains from its German rival.

The Local/jlb

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What does the UK’s new ‘traffic light’ system mean for travel to Germany?

The UK government is bringing in a 'traffic light' system set of rules for travel to different countries. Here's what it could mean for travel between Germany and the UK.

What does the UK's new 'traffic light' system mean for travel to Germany?
A near empty Heathrow Airport in London in January 2021. picture alliance/dpa/ZUMA Wire | May James

Whether it’s about visiting family or taking a holiday, Brits in Germany, as well as people in the UK, are desperate to know how they can travel to and from Britain.

At present the UK rules prohibit travel out of the country for non-essential purposes, meaning holidays to Germany (and everywhere else) are not possible. Travel is only allowed for an essential reason.

However, this is set to be lifted from May 17th, and at that stage England’s ‘traffic light’ system will kick in.

This involves giving each country a designation – red, amber or green – based on data including case numbers and vaccination rates in the country.

On Friday Germany was listed as an ‘amber’ country. Although coronavirus infections are falling and vaccinations are picking up pace, numbers at the moment are still quite high.

EXPLAINED: The European countries on England’s ‘amber’ travel list and what it means

For comparison, Our World in Data shows that Germany has 210.97 daily confirmed cases per million people, while the UK has 29.9.

READ ALSO:

However, if the trend continues and numbers continue to drop in Germany in the coming weeks – it could be placed on the green list some time soon.

Not being on the green list doesn’t mean that travel isn’t allowed – it just means that people will have to quarantine and test on arrival in the UK.

Red list – arrivals have to quarantine in specially-designated quarantine hotels for 10 days. The traveller is liable for the cost of these, which is up to £1,700 (around €1,967), plus the cost of testing after arrival. A Covid test is required to enter the country. This is expected to be reserved for the highest-risk countries including India, Brazil and South Africa.

Note that it could be the case (as is currently) that anyone who’s not a British/Irish national or resident will be refused entry if they are coming from a red country.

Amber list – arrivals have to quarantine for 10 days but can do so in a location of their choice including the home of a friend or family member. Arrivals also have to pay for travel-testing kits which cost around £200 (around €232) per person. A Covid test is required to enter the country. Essentially this the regime currently in place for most arrivals.

Green list – no quarantine is necessary, but a Covid test is required to enter the country, plus another test on or before day two of their stay. 

Note that the current travel rules for entering the UK say that an antigen test meeting a certain quality standard is allowed for entry into Britain rather than only PCR tests. We don’t know if this will be allowed under the new travel rules so make sure to check the UK Government’s site before travel.

The list as published applies to England only.

The devolved nations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have not announced when they will lift travel restrictions but have not so far indicated that they intend to impose different rules to England’s.

The German travel rules

Currently Germany discourages all but essential travel within the country and abroad.

However, German states are putting together plans for reopening hotels and other overnight accommodation which signals that things are beginning to open up. 

READ ALSO:

At the moment, Germany has travel bans in place for areas deemed high risk due to mutations of coronavirus. That currently includes Brazil and India. Some people, such as German citizens are residents are exempt from the bans but have to comply with strict quarantine and testing rules.

READ MORE: What you need to know about the latest rules on travel to and from Germany

Everyone arriving in the country by plane, regardless of the risk status of the place they are travelling from, has to present a negative coronavirus test certificate no older than 48 hours before boarding.

The test must have been taken no more than 48 hours before entry (time of swabbing). Proof of the test result must be on paper or in an electronic document in English, French or German. The test result must be kept for at least 10 days after entry.

For information on test requirements have a look at this information sheet.

All entries to Germany must also register online prior to arrival by filling in your information on this site: www.einreiseanmeldung.de.

There are also strict quarantine rules for arrivals from most countries, which are set by the German state. The quarantine period typically lasts 10 or 14 days, and in some cases can be ended after a negative Covid test taken at the earliest five days into self-isolation.

You can find your local government here by entering the postcode.

We’ll let you know if and when travel rules change in Germany.

What about vaccine passports?

Neither Germany nor the UK as yet have vaccine passport systems up and running.

That means that, for the moment, even fully vaccinated people will have to abide by the testing and quarantine rules.

READ ALSO: How will the EU’s ‘Covid passport’ work for tourists in Europe?

Please keep in mind that this article, as with all of our guides, are to provide assistance only. They are not intended to take the place of official legal advice.

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