With sleek new trains and an increased number of direct destinations, city breaks by rail are to become even more accessible than ever before
As part of the celebratory events surrounding the 20th anniversary of the first Eurostar trains to Continental Europe back in November 1994, Eurostar has unveiled plans this morning for bigger and faster trains that are estimated to cut journey times from London to Paris by 15 minutes. So named because they will reach speeds of up to 320 km per hour (200mph), the commissioned e320 trains will not only bolster Eurostar’s fleet by 20% and provide a speedier service, but will also carry an increased number of passengers in addition to offering added extras such as new Italian interior design (as seen in Ferrari) and external livery, additional seat space, power and USB sockets and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Described as being “interoperable”, the e320 trains can run across a wide range of different European signalling systems, thus paving the way for more direct services in the future between London, Kent and a whole host of European city centre destinations, perfect for a weekend city break or multi-centre stay by rail. Already scheduled for May 2015 is the new, direct, year-round service to Provence with stops at Lyon, Avignon and Marseille, followed at the end of the year with the launch of the new fleet at the end of the year. Furthermore, there are plans afoot for a direct route to Amsterdam at the end of 2016, with the option to alight at Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam’s main airport hub, Schiphol, en route. And that’s in addition to its core staple destinations of Paris, Brussels and Lille, already much-loved city break favourites.
Looking back through its 20-year history, there’s quite a number of interesting statistics to note (courtesy of mirror.co.uk), here’s just a few of my favourites…
- Eurostar holds the UK train speed record at 335km per hour (208mph)
- Each train uses 1,600 KW of power, the same as 20 Formula 1 cars
- On each journey, only 18 minutes is spent in the Channel Tunnel
- Each train can hold the same as two Boeing 747s
- A Eurostar train is 90 metres longer than the Shard skyscraper
- Eurostar has carried over 150 million passengers in 20 years – that’s more than the populations of the UK and France combined
- More than double the amount of passengers now travel between London, Paris and Brussels since the service launched 20 years ago
- One baby has been born on board, with two weddings taking place at Ashford International
Happy anniversary, Eurostar!