200mph trains included in £700m Eurostar investment

Channel Tunnel rail company Eurostar today announced a £700 million investment in 200mph new trains and refurbishment of existing rolling stock.

Eurostar, which operates high-speed services to Paris and Brussels from London's St Pancras station, will buy 10 German-built e320 trains which will carry 900 passengers.



This is a 20% capacity increase on the existing trains which will be overhauled and refurbished.



The arrival of the new trains, built by Siemens, could see London-Paris journey times reduced to just over two hours. The trains will be able to run across the European high-speed network.



French rail company SNCF is one of the three shareholders which own Eurostar and the decision to opt for German-built trains will anger the French government which had been hoping for the contract to be awarded to French company Alstom.



The Eurostar announcement was welcomed by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond who earlier this week announced further details of the £33 billion UK high-speed rail network - known as High Speed 2 (HS2).



Mr Hammond hopes work can start on HS2 by 2015 and studies are going on to see if the new network can be joined to the London to Folkestone Channel Tunnel link, now known as HS1.



HS2 would initially run to Birmingham and Mr Hammond this week signalled his preference for a Y-shaped network north of Birmingham, with separate legs from the West Midlands to Manchester and Leeds.



Mr Hammond said: "The transformation of Eurostar into a single entity has created a company well placed to attract the resources and investment needed to deliver a world class service.



"That's good news for passengers but also for the UK taxpayer as well, who owns 40% of Eurostar International."



Mr Hammond said a possible joining of HS2 to HS1 would create "a truly international service for passengers and business".



Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: "Over the last 16 years Eurostar has revolutionised travel between London, Paris and Brussels but our sights are now set on expanding our business across Europe.



"The transformation of Eurostar into a stand-alone business and the major capital investment announced today is a mark of our growth ambitions for the future. The combination of our new state-of-the-art trains and our refurbished fleet will assure our position as the leading rail operator between the UK and the continent and make us the obvious choice for short-haul European travel."



Snow getting into the works of trains caused a number of breakdowns of Eurostar services last Christmas, with hundreds of passengers stuck in the tunnel for many hours in appalling conditions.



All Eurostar services had to be suspended for three days in the busy run-up to Christmas, wrecking thousands of customers' travel plans.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week