DB ICE trains through the Channel: it could work!

By Railway 2.0 - Last updated: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

Ok, it’s clear that the trouble following Eurostar’s decision to buy Velaro D train sets for the renewal of its fleet crossing the Europe is in Eurotunnel’s hands. And London High Court, as well, considering Alstom legal opposition to the operator’s choice.

Meanwhile, German DB moves a further step forward and brings for the first time in London St. Pancras station one of its international ICE 3 (class 406) train set – the father of the Velaro D (class 407) and e320 to be bought by DB and Eurostar respectively from Siemens. This action is one of the first step for the foreseen Frankfurt to London and Amsterdam to London services to be operated 3x day by DB from 2013 using the split-joint point in Brussels to cross the Channel with a 375 m long train (see picture).

The exhibition of October 19th follows a series of successful weekend evacuation tests to evaluate if the 2xICE train let to fulfill Eurotunnel evacuation times.

A good BBC video at the end of the post explains main gaps to be covered (or validated) for new distributed power trains in order to circulate through the Chunnel.

From DB’s press release:

ICE premiere in London / Successful first safety exercise in the Channel Tunnel / Direct DB services to Frankfurt and Amsterdam envisaged alongside with expansion of other cross-border services

Chairman of the DB Management Board Dr. Rüdiger Grube: “This historic train journey will bring Germany and the UK closer together in the future” / Additional cross-border connections from Frankfurt to Brussels available in 2010 and to the South of France from 2011

(Berlin/London, 19 October 2010) After the successful test run through the Channel Tunnel at the weekend, Deutsche Bahn presented an ICE in London for the first time on Tuesday. Attending the presentation of the ICE 3 at St. Pancras International station were Rt. Hon Theresa Villiers MP, UK Minister of State for Transport, Dr. Peter Ramsauer, German Federal Minister of Transport, Construction and Urban Development, as well as Paul Chapman, managing director of High Speed 1, Dr. Rüdiger Grube, Chairman of the DB Management Board, with Ulrich Homburg and Dr. Richard Lutz, Members of the DB Management Board.

“This historic train journey will bring Germany and the UK closer together in the future. We have now reached the first milestone on the road to a regular direct ICE connection from 2013” confirmed Dr. Grube. “By making full use of the opportunities afforded by the liberalisation of the European rail transport market we are able to offer our customers genuine alternatives to air travel.”

UK Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said: “It is great news that passengers can look forward to reaching new European destinations in an easier, greener way from 2013. For many people high speed rail is a more convenient alternative to air or road – allowing them to hop on board in the city centre and catch up on some work along the way. I am sure these new continental services will prove popular with business travellers and tourists alike. They would also act as a welcome addition to the Government’s plans for a high speed rail network at home.”

Dr. Peter Ramsauer said: “The planned ICE service between Frankfurt, Cologne and London would be a tremendous step forward for European train services. The economic development of these three major cities would benefit enormously. With its introduction, business people and tourists alike would get an extremely attractive and climate-friendly service between the Main, the Rhine and the River Thames.”

Paul Chapman, managing director of High Speed 1, said: “High Speed 1 welcomes Deutsche Bahn to St Pancras International. This is not only a hugely important development for high speed rail travel in the UK but fabulous news for our growing numbers of passengers.”

At the weekend evacuation exercises were carried out on the ICE in the Channel Tunnel in cooperation with the infrastructure operator Eurotunnel and under the supervision of the safety authorities, thus starting an important safety process three years before service commencement. Further approval measures will be carried out in the coming months. Regular ICE services are planned for the new timetable beginning in 2013. This will incorporate three return train journeys (outward and return) between Frankfurt and London via Cologne, Brussels and Lille. This will include connections from Amsterdam via Rotterdam to London. The journey time from Cologne to London should take less than four hours and from Frankfurt to London just over five hours. Journeys from Amsterdam to London should be possible in under four hours.

Press reactions:

The New York Times

BBC

Bloomberg

The Economist

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