Plans for a direct high-speed train service between London and Frankfurt remain on track, with a "tentative starting date of 2016" says German rail operator Deutsche Bahn.
Unlike the current service, which requires travelling on the Eurostar from London but changing trains at Brussels, travellers on the Deutsche Bahn trains would stay sitting comfy in their seat – the train itself would split into two sections upon arrival at Brussels, with one section bound for Frankfurt and the other headed to Amsterdam.
Running at speeds up to 320km/h, passengers departing London's St Pancras International station would reach Brussels in two hours, Amsterdam in four hours and Frankfurt in five hours.
Deutsche Bahn first announced its intention to challenge Eurostar’s cross-channel monopoly in 2010, with a start date of 2013 and then 2015, due to delays in the supply of new InterCityExpress ICE trains from manufacturer Siemens.
“We had set a tentative starting date for 2016 but it is difficult to be more accurate until we receive more certainty [about when the ICE trains might be delivered] from Siemens" said Deutsche Bahn spokesperson Graham Meiklejohn.
“These are complex trains,” Meiklejohn told Business Traveller, “they are being designed to operate over several different railway systems each with their own technical standards. In addition they must also meet the requirements for operating through the Channel Tunnel."
Eurostar is also looking to add key European destinations such as Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Geneva to its own network, but this hinges on the delayed delivery of its next-gen e320 trains – also manufactured by Siemens – which have now been pushed back from late 2014 to sometime in 2015.
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