Posted 19th October 2010 | 2 Comments

The train now arriving at Platform 5 ... is from Germany

THE first Deutsche Bahn train to ever visit London is standing at St Pancras International today.

And it's a sign of things to come, according to DB, which says it will start running regular services to London in December 2013.

The single ICE set looks strangely short alongside the Eurostars, which is hardly surprising as it's only 200m long, and as such does not meet the current regulations for trains carrying passengers through the Channel Tunnel.

But today's arrival is ceremonial only. From the end of 2013 DB is planning three departures from St Pancras every day. The 400m trains will divide and join at Brussels, with the individual portions serving Rotterdam and Amsterdam, or Cologne and Frankfurt.

Projected journey times are 3hr to Rotterdam, 'below' 4hr to Amsterdam and Cologne, and 5hr to Frankfurt.

DB faces more hurdles before its plans become a reality. Channel Tunnel safety rules, which are currently being reviewed, will need to be changed to allow distributed traction rather than power cars at each end of the train.

Evacuation inside the tunnel will also be an issue unless it is possible for passengers to walk the entire length of a 400m train. However, DB is claiming that a test evacuation of 300 passengers in the Channel Tunnel on Sunday was successful.

There is also stern opposition in France, where both the government and Alstom are resisting the DB plans, saying that the Siemens-built ICEs would not be safe.

DB has dismissed the French argument as simply another salvo in the long-running battle between the two countries, neither of whom have welcomed the other's trains on home territory.

But for today, the ICE is standing at Platform 5 in St Pancras International as the first tangible evidence, in Britain at least, that international open access is approaching -- at High Speed.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • andrew ganley, cheam, england

    You can blame the Tory government of the 90s for selling off BR workshops and letting foreign takeovers, split and sell the rest. We should be building our own trains not making Siemens lots of Euros. What a sad state for the country that gave the world railways.

  • AC, Manchester

    Wonder what the Germans and French would make of a class 91 or HST showing up on the other side of the Chunell. A museum tour maybe? The two super railway powers obviously have their status related issues but it is dissapointing that we are not anywhere close to ruffling any feathers with a display of our own rolling stock technology. The sad reality is that we do not have any interest in trying to produce engineering better than anyone else anymore. St Pancras is now a battle ground for foreign countries to gain the market share.