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Eurostar unveils first new 200mph e320 train

Eurostar has celebrated its 20th anniversary by unveiling its new state-of-the-art e320 train, capable of reaching speeds up to 200mph.

The new Class 374, built by Siemens at Krefeld, with external livery and interiors designed by Pininfarina, will go into service at the end of 2015, later than originally planned.

NG 140722 TVC Eurostar full-0485

Each 16-car set is capable of carrying 900 passengers, a 20% increase on current capacity. Seats throughout the train will be roomier and come with a power socket and it also features free on-board wi-fi.

The e320, so named because it is capable of speeds up to 320kmh (200mph), is expected to cut journey times between London and Paris by 15 minutes. It is a variant of the Velaro design, used across Europe.

The trains are inter-operable, meaning they can run across diverse European signalling and power systems, opening up the potential for a whole range of new direct services between the UK and European city centre destinations, Eurostar says. Its current fleet of Class 373s are not compatible with the German OLE, for example.

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NG 140721 TVC Eurostar full-NGP 9945b

The Channel Tunnel train operator unveiled the new trains at an event at St Pancras International. At the same time the company announced its decision to augment its fleet with a further seven new e320 trains.  With the original order of 10 e320s now in the final stage of completion, this increases the number of new trains to 17 in total.

The additional trains are expected to cost around £300m, bringing the total bill for buying 17 trains and refurbishing the existing fleet to £1bn.

NG 141113 Eurostar print-6754

Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive of Eurostar, said: “Over the last twenty years, we have led the way in cross-Channel high speed rail travel, cementing the link between the UK and mainland Europe.  Our 20th birthday represents a key milestone for our business and marks the start of the next phase of growth and expansion.  With this substantial investment in our fleet, our stations and the on-board experience, passengers can look forward to an exciting future.”

Beyond its core routes of Paris, Brussels and Lille, Eurostar serves a range of destinations including the French Alps, Swiss Alps and Geneva. In May 2015 the operator will start of a new year-round direct service to Provence, stopping at Lyon, Avignon and Marseille, followed at the end of 2016 by the launch of a direct route to Amsterdam with stops in Antwerp, Rotterdam and Schiphol along the way.

(All images c. Eurostar)

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