German train makes first Channel tunnel test trip

A German high-speed train entered the Channel tunnel between France and England for the first time Wednesday on a test run aimed at breaking French-built trains' monopoly on the route.

The grey ICE3 train, made by Siemens of Germany and operated by Deutsche Bahn, entered at the French end of the tunnel near Calais, watched by reporters.

The German operator wants to demonstrate its ability to run safely on the route, which is being opened up to competition under European Union rules, to the annoyance of France, which has so far dominated cross-Channel traffic.

France, which owns 55 percent of the cross-Channel Eurostar service, last week reacted angrily to the company's decision to buy trains for the route from Siemens instead of from French engineering company Alstom.

The ICE on Wednesday was the first passenger train not run by Eurostar - an operator jointly owned by France, Britain and Belgium - to use the tunnel, running into it at 30 kilometres (18 miles) per hour.

Carrying drivers and technical staff from Germany's Deutsche Bahn and tunnel operator Eurotunnel, but no passengers, it went part of the way through the tunnel before turning back and re-entering France after 10 minutes.

It is to return to the tunnel for safety drills on Saturday and then travel, towed by another engine, all the way to London next week.

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

France's Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo and junior transport minister Dominique Bussereau last week reacted angrily to a decision by Eurostar to buy 10 Velaro high-speed trains from Siemens, shunning Alstom.

They and Alstom said the Siemens train did not meet the safety requirements for the tunnel. Trains passing through it have to be long enough to allow passengers anywhere on board to reach emergency exits in the tunnel.

Eurostar trains based on Alstom's TGV model are 400 metres (1,300 feet) long and escaping passengers can be sure of being able to exit near a safety tunnel.

Deutsche Bahn wants to run pairs of 200-metre ICE trains in tandem, while Eurostar wants a new version designed to meet the 400-metre requirement.

This Velaro train, Siemens's new generation successor to the ICE3, can carry up to 900 passengers, or 20 percent more than the tunnel trains now in circulation, at 320 kilometres (200 miles) 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, a vast engineering conglomerate, has had ambitions for years to challenge the French TGV high-speed trains made by Alstom, which have gained a big lead in European and world markets, with models of its own design.

In 2012, Deutsche Bahn plans to offer services to London for the Olympics, meaning that for the first time two European railways will compete on a cross border route.

The French ministers said they supported opening EU railways to competition but stressed safety concerns, citing fires in the tunnel in 1996, 2006 and 2008. German officials have accused France and Britain of protectionism.

aro-gab/rlp/dc

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
Life and Style
View of champagne glasses at a beach bar set up along the Croisette during the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 17, 2013
food + drink(and for now, there's a clear winner)
News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
arts + ents
Life and Style
tech

Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)

Extras
indybest
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
film
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

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Manager - Holiday Homes - £100,000 OTE

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + £100,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: Birmingham, Derby, L...

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?