As the rail service reaches its 20th anniversary, Eurostar has unveiled the new e320 train scheduled to enter commercial service at the end of 2015.
The company claims the e320, named for its ability to reach a speed of 320km/h (200mph), represents “a major advance for international high-speed rail”. Built by Siemens to a bespoke specification, it will be able to operate across diverse European signalling systems, opening up the potential for a range of new direct services between the UK and mainland Europe.
Capacity is increased by 20 per cent to carry 900 passengers, who will enjoy more space per seat with access to power points, USB sockets and free Wi-Fi.
To coincide with the unveiling of the first e320 at London’s St Pancras International station, Eurostar confirmed it has augmented its initial order for ten, now in the final stage of completion, with a further seven trains. Chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said that with demand for services at record levels following ten consecutive years of growth, the new trains will be key to achieving the company’s ambitions for further growth.
“With just one year to go until our new e320 train comes into service, passengers will see a complete transformation of our service,” he predicted.
May 2015 will see the start of a new year-round direct service from London to Provence, stopping at Lyon, Avignon and Marseille, followed at the end of 2016 by the launch of a direct route to Amsterdam with stops in Antwerp, Rotterdam and Schiphol.