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Eurostar

From Academic Kids

This article is about high-speed trains between London and Brussels / Paris. For Italian trains called Eurostar, see Eurostar Italia.
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Eurostar is a train service that connects London with Paris and Brussels. Trains cross the English Channel via the Channel Tunnel. The French and Belgian sections of the route use the same high-speed rail lines as the TGV and Thalys, and in England a new line is being built to the same standard. This is a two-phase project known as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link project (CTRL).

The first revenue-earning Eurostar trains ran in November 1994. The service is a joint venture between three railway companies: NMBS/SNCB (Belgium), SNCF (France), and Eurostar (U.K.) Ltd. Eurostar has established a dominant share of the market on the routes it serves - 68% for London-Paris and 63% for London-Brussels, as of November 2004. The company points out that these passenger figures represent a saving of 393,000 carbon dioxide-producing short-haul flights.

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A Eurostar train running through London suburbs on the third-rail electric supply

The journey time from London to Paris is currently 2 hours 35 minutes; London to Brussels is 2 hours 20 minutes. These times will be cut by 20 minutes in 2007 when the construction of the second phase of CTRL is completed, bringing the British portion of the line up to the same standards as the French and Belgian sections.

In addition to the three destination cities, some Eurostar services currently stop en route at Ashford in Kent and Lille in northern France. From 2007 all Eurostar trains will be routed through the CTRL to a new London terminus at St Pancras. (The company had intended to retain some services to the existing Waterloo terminal, but this was ruled out on cost grounds.) Some trains will additionally serve new stations at Ebbsfleet near Dartford in north-east Kent and Stratford in east London.

Additional information

  • The trains themselves are 400 metres long, weigh 800 tonnes and carry 750 passengers. In Britain they are classifed as British Rail Class 373 units, and they were constructed by GEC-Alsthom (now Alstom). They can run on third rail and various catenary voltages, achieving a maximum in-service speed of 300 km/h when collecting current from a 25 kV overhead catenary. They are essentially modified TGV sets, and some Eurostar trains not needed for Channel runs are now used in regular TGV service by the French national railway. In July 2003 a Eurostar train set a new UK rail speed record of 334.7 km/h (208.0 mph) during safety testing on the first section of the CTRL. This section opened for commercial services in September 2003 and has helped increase passenger numbers by as much as 20%, as well as shortening journey times by 20 minutes.
  • The 27 normal Eurostar-sets are being refurbished with a new interior, designed by Philippe Starck, from September 2004 on. The grey-yellow look (in Standard class) and the grey-red look (In First/Premium First) has been replaced with a more grey-brown look in Standard, and a grey-burnt orange in First class. The Premium First class will be removed from sale in September 2005 as the company looks to simplify its fare structure.
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GNER White Rose train at King's Cross railway station
  • Eurostar also run services to Disneyland Paris, to Avignon in summer, and - in the skiing season - to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Aime-la-Plagne and Moutiers in the French Alps. It was originally intended to run "regional Eurostars", direct services to Paris and Brussels from places in the United Kingdom other than London. This proved not to be financially viable, but some of the shorter Eurostar trains intended for those services are now operated by GNER (the Great North Eastern Railway) entirely within the UK, on the East Coast Main Line from London's King's Cross railway station to Leeds. 'Nightstar' sleeper trains constructed for the international service were also never used, and the trains were sold to VIA Rail in Canada, which has branded them as Renaissance Cars [1] (http://www.viarail.ca/classes/en_serv_visi_renai.html).
  • Eurotunnel, the company that built and runs the Channel Tunnel, is a completely separate entity from Eurostar.

External links

fr:Eurostar ja:ユーロスター nl:Eurostar sv:Eurostar

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