Posted 19th October 2010 | 2 Comments

German service could launch in time for Olympics

The German transport minister, left, said he was

A GERMAN ICE has spent the day at St Pancras International, making railway history by being what is thought to be the first wholly foreign train to arrive at a London terminus. Deutsche Bahn said it intended to launch services between London and Amsterdam, also London and Cologne, in December 2013. But the German transport minister dropped a broad hint that DB could be planning to run a little early.

The launch of new international rail routes from London has been welcomed by transport minister Theresa Villiers, who said the plans were in tune with the UK government's proposals for domestic High Speed rail.

Although December 2013 has been quoted as the official launch date, German transport minister Peter Ramsauer told his audience that "maybe it would be a little earlier. I am thinking of the Olympics."

If DB did manage to start nternational services to London in time for the Olympic fortnight in 2012, it would represent a major scoop.

Eurostar has also just announced plans to extend its network to destinations such as Geneva and Lyon and also as a competitor on the route to Rotterdam and Amsterdam, but its target start date is 2014.

Both DB and Eurostar must overcome French opposition to their plans first. The French government, backed by French train-builder Alstom, is claiming that Siemens trains, which both DB and Eurostar want to use, would not be safe in the Channel Tunnel, and is reported to be taking its objections to the European Commission.

Reader Comments:

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  • Lorentz, London

    The DB services will be welcome, but on teh surface of it, the case for direct services to Lyon and Geneva would seem weak - the travel times and prices would probably not, based on current figures, be very competative with low cost airlines. I would imagine that Eurostar will use the new vehicles to compete directly with DB.

  • Chris Reynell, Longstock, Hampshire.

    I wonder if our government backed train manufacturing like the French and the Germans, the choice of building the new high speed trains: Derby, Birmingham, Crewe etc ?