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Eurostar is a train service connecting London and Kent in Britain, with France (primarily Paris and Lille) and Brussels in Belgium. Trains cross the English Channel via the Channel Tunnel. In Southern England, a new railway line has been built to the same high-speed LGV standards used in France. The two-phase Channel Tunnel Rail Link ("CTRL") project has been partially in operation since 2003, reducing times to and from London Waterloo. Eurostar have announced that from opening of the CTRL into London St Pancras on November 14, 2007 it will be branded as High Speed 1.
Since the first revenue-earning Eurostar trains ran in November 1994, Eurostar has established a dominant share of the market on the routes it serves. In November 2004 Eurostar stated that their share of the combined rail/air market share had grown to 68% for London⇔Paris and 63% for London⇔Brussels. The company noted that these passenger figures represented a saving of 393,000 carbon dioxide-producing short-haul flights.
Works about to finish near Brussels South will additionally provide a four-minute improvement for all Brussels-bound services. Completion of the dedicated rail link on the British side will allow a significant potential increase in the number of Eurostar trains serving London. Separation of the CTRL from UK domestic railway services through Kent means that timetabling for Eurostar train paths will be unaffected by peak-hour restrictions. After CTRL2 is completed, up to eight trains per hour in each direction will be able to travel from London to Continental Europe, moving the bottleneck in capacity to the Channel Tunnel.
Some Eurostar services stop en route to Brussels and Paris. Current intermediate stations are Ashford International, and Calais-Fréthun and Lille-Europe in northern France. Eurostar also run daily services to Disneyland Paris, a weekly summer-time Avignon service, and twice-weekly to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Aime-la-Plagne and Moutiers in the French Alps for the ski season.
Eurotunnel, the company that built and runs the Channel Tunnel, is a completely separate entity from Eurostar.
 High Speed 1
From 14 November 2007 all Eurostar trains will be routed via High Speed 1 from the newly redeveloped London terminus at St Pancras International. St Pancras station is being extensively rebuilt and extended in length to cope with the 394 m Eurostar trains, with the surrounding area being regenerated as King's Cross Central. Originally Eurostar had announced its intention to retain some services to the existing Waterloo International terminal, a plan that has been ruled out on cost grounds. Some trains will serve new stations at Stratford International station in East London and Ebbsfleet International station in northwest Kent. Stratford station will be renamed Stratford Regional station when the adjacent Stratford International station is opened. Services stopping at Ashford International will be reduced to allow peak-time services to stop instead at Ebbsfleet. Withdrawing services from a station opened only a decade ago provoked controversy from the local community, but Eurostar has rejected accusations that it is "moth-balling" Ashford International. On 3 April 2007 a petition with 8,000 signatures was taken to London Waterloo calling for an [EU] enquiry into the impact of the reduced services from Ashford International.
From 2003, the journey time from London to Paris has been 2 hours 35 minutes, to Brussels 2 hours 20 minutes. In November 2007, times from London to the Channel Tunnel will be cut by 20 minutes, when High Speed 1 is complete, bringing the British portion of the route up to the same standards as the French and Belgian LGV high-speed sections, and allowing 300 km/h running.
On 4 September 2007, a special record-breaking train left Paris Gare du Nord at 10:44 (9:44 BST) and reached London St Pancras in 2 hours 3 minutes 39 seconds. French driver Francis Queret took train-set 3223/24 through France, while Briton Neil Meare took control of the train passing through Kent. Transporting journalists and railway workers, the train was the first passenger-carrying arrival at the new St Pancras station.
On 20 September 2007, Eurostar broke the record as it officially shortened the travel time from Brussels to London (1 hour, 43 minutes). The train left Brussels Midi Station at 10:05, and reached St Pancras International Terminus at 11:48 (at 186 mph or 299 km/h) between the Kent coast and the capital).
St. Pancras' revamp and upgrading cost £5.8 billion. On 4 September 2007, the train passed through the new £100 million Ebbsfleet International station near Dartford, Kent. St. Pancras station will be connected to the site of the 2012 Olympics at Stratford, London.
 Eurostar routes
|[hide]Eurostar route map|
Times shown are fastest timetabled journey from London Waterloo.
The Eurostar network has 9–15 daily trains London–Paris and London–Brussels, with at least one non-stop service per day. Throughout the day Paris and Brussels services stop at Lille-Europe, Calais-Fréthun and Ashford International. In addition to the three-capitals service, there is one round-trip London–Disneyland and two seasonal services to the south of France.
During the summer months there is one train makes the journey London–Ashford–Avignon Centre. In the winter months there are two weekly services London–Bourg Saint Maurice in the Alps. These two Snow Train services are designed to suit skiing enthusiasts, with one overnight and one daytime round-trip.
 Rolling stock
Eurostar's main rolling stock is made up of a total of 28 electric multiple unit sets, named as Class 373 in the United Kingdom and TGV373000 in France. As built, there were two sub-classes of these trains:
- The Three Capitals trains are 400 metres long, weigh 800 tonnes and carry 750 passengers in 18 carriages. In case of an incident in the Channel Tunnel, the trains can be divided in two in order to evacuate the passengers in the unaffected carriages.
- The North of London trains have only 14 carriages rather than 18, and were designed to operate the proposed Regional Eurostar services.
The trains were constructed by GEC-Alsthom (now Alstom) at its La Rochelle (France), Belfort (France) and Washwood Heath (England) sites. They can run on third rail and various catenary voltages, drawing up to 12 MW of power and achieving a maximum in-service speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) when collecting current from 25 kV overhead catenary. They are essentially modified TGV sets, and some Eurostar trains not needed for cross-Channel runs are used in domestic TGV service by SNCF. In July 2003 a Eurostar train set a new UK rail speed record of 334.7 km/h (208.0 mph) during safety testing on the first section of the CTRL. This section opened for commercial services in September 2003 and has shortened journey times by 20 minutes, helping increase passenger numbers by as much as 20%. Because of the different power systems in the UK and Mainland Europe, with the existing lines in the south of England using a third-rail (at 750 volts DC) for powering their trains, and mainland Europe and elsewhere in the UK using overhead wires, the Eurostar trains have both pantographs for mainland Europe and third-rail contact shoes for use in the UK. All the Eurostars are tri-voltage (750 V DC, 25 kV 50 Hz, 3 kV DC), with five sets having quad-voltage (1500V DC) circuitry for working in the south of France. While operating on the pantograph power collection, the Eurostar has to be able to cope with three different standards of overhead catenary: regular-height catenary on the Belgian and French domestic railways and through Lille and Ashford; lower-height catenary as found on the LGV lines; and the higher catenary through the Channel Tunnel. The tunnel catenary is much higher as the tunnel carries double-deck car trains and trains carrying heavy goods vehicles. The driver of the train is required to lower the pantographs as he exits one system and raise them again when he enters the new system. Whenever the driver lowers the pantograph and deploys the 750 volt DC shoe gear to run on the UK South Eastern regional domestic lines, the speedometer scale automatically changes from kilometres per hour to miles per hour. The short section of track into and out of Ashford International has dual 750 volt DC and 25 kV AC power systems with the line side speed limit signs in both imperial and metric, so that no change in the speedometer is required. Eurostar can operate at up to 300 km/h (186 mph) on high-speed lines, 160 km/h (100 mph) in the Channel Tunnel. Since there is an automatic application of the brakes if the speed exceeds 300 km/h, 160 km/h when the pantograph is in the tunnel setting, the target speed is in fact 297 and 157 km/h respectively. Speed limits in the Channel Tunnel are dictated by air-resistance, energy (heat) dissipation and the need to fit in with other trains operating at slower speeds. The Eurostar trains and their drivers have to be able run under four different signalling systems: the UK domestic system between Waterloo and CTRL1 near Swanley in Kent, around Ashford International Station, and at St Pancras International; the French domestic system between Paris Gare du Nord and the LGV; the Belgian domestic system between Brussels Midi and the TGV line; and the TVM signalling on the LGV.
The 28 three-capitals Eurostar sets still in daily use for international services have been refurbished with a new interior, designed by Philippe Starck, started in September 2004, following customer complaints and EUKL dissatisfaction at the damage that the interiors had suffered since they had been placed into service. The old grey-yellow look (in Standard class) and grey-red look (in First/Premium First) are being replaced with a new grey-brown look in Standard and a grey-burnt orange in First class. Power points have been added to seats in First class and coaches 1 and 18 in Standard Class. Premium First class was renamed BusinessPremier. One extra Eurostar power car was built, numbered 3999. In the event of an incident rendering another without a power car, the spare could be utilised. This was the case for a couple of years, when 3999 was renumbered and replaced another locomotive during rebuilding at Le Landy. It is usually held at North Pole depot in London. The sets were designed with Channel Tunnel safety in mind, and are in fact formed of two completely independent "half-sets", each with its own power car. Whilst most of the trailers rest on a shared bogie (truck), the two central trailers do not: they are simply coupled together using a Scharfenberg coupler. In the event of an incident on board, the passengers can simply be transferred to the "good" half of the set, which would then be detached from the other half and driven out of the tunnel to safety. However, during the only incident of fire to have occurred, the power was tripped off by fire damage, making this impossible. One of the two Chefs du Train is a fully authorised driver - usually the driver from the other half of the round trip (two journeys exceeds the driver's maximum driving hours). The driver who is acting as a Chef du Train occupies the rear driving cab through the tunnel. As well as the central automatic coupling, the half-sets feature Scharfenberg couplings between the power-cars and the first (motor)-trailer, giving three points where the train can be separated in an emergency. As well as the coupling, there are many electrical supply cables that are designed to rip apart (break) during a separation. These cables reportedly cost about £30,000 to replace if performed accidentally. Due to the high speed of travel, the driver is considered to be unable to see line side signals and to be able to respond accordingly. With the TVM signalling used on the high-speed lines, the target speed for the end of the current block is displayed, along with a flashing indication for the next block if it is a different speed. Also, auxiliary signalling such as the location of neutral sections in the overhead supply and pantograph adjustment zones are displayed in cab as well as by the line side. The operation of the locomotives' circuit breakers over the neutral sections is handled automatically on the TGV lines only, but the pantograph adjustments must be performed by the driver. The Eurostar trains have three braking systems. The motors can operate in a regenerative mode providing dynamic braking. Each axle has four disk brakes on it. Both power cars have wheel brakes operating directly on the wheels. The combined effect of the three braking systems can bring a train travelling at 300 km/h to a complete standstill in 65 seconds. The train covers about 3.5 km during this time. Every Eurostar power car has a four-digit number starting with "3" (3xxx). This numbering fits the Eurostar as the TGV Mark 3, Mark 2 being TGV Atlantique, and Mark 1 being the original Paris-Sud-Est units. The second digit of the Eurostar number is the country of ownership:
- 30xx UK
- 31xx Belgium
- 32xx France
- 33xx Regional Eurostar
Of the 38 Eurostar sets built, 18 are required for daily three-capitals use. SNCF currently uses three repainted Eurostars for domestic services, one of which can regularly be seen working the Paris-Lille shuttle. After some political wrangling regarding TGV-branded sets turning up in London, the three SNCF domestic-sets had their 750 V DC shoe gear and yellow ends removed, preventing them from working in the UK. GNER leased up to five North-of-London Eurostars for their London-Leeds "White-Rose" service. Just like the borrowed SNCF sets, these were stripped of their Eurostar markings, two sporting a mostly-white livery, with three sets receiving full-length GNER-style deep-navy vinyl wraps. The GNER arrangement concluded in December 2005.
In addition to its main passenger rolling stock, Eurostar also operated a number of other types:
- Class 37 - a diesel locomotive intended to operate sleeper services over non-electrified parts of the railway network in Britain. Eurostar retains three locomotives for the rescue of failed trains, route learning and driver training. These will become redundant once the new Temple Mills Depot opens.
- Class 73 - an electro-diesel locomotive used primarily to rescue failed trains. Eurostar operated two of these from its North Pole depot until 2007, when they were loaned to a pair of educational initiatives due to their becoming redundant following the move to Temple Mills.
- Class 92 - an electric locomotive intended to operate the sleeper services. Eurostar owned seven units of this class, which never saw service until they were sold in 2007 to Europorte 2.
 Current fleet
 Past fleet
 Regional Eurostar and Nightstar
Part of the original proposal for Eurostar services were direct Regional Eurostar services to Paris and Brussels from Manchester (via Birmingham on the WCML) and Glasgow (via Edinburgh, Newcastle and York on the ECML). Following substantial investment in trains, facilities and test runs the proposed services did not run due to various reasons, particularly the growth of budget airlines. The closest that can now be expected is cross-platform connection with Midland Main Line trains. Seven shorter Eurostar trains were completed and these were handed over to Eurostar (UK) upon the privatisation of British Rail. Three units were leased by Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) to increase capacity on domestic services from London King's Cross railway station to York and later Leeds.
Most of the NoL sets have since moved to SNCF, for use on domestic TGV services in northern France. Before the public opening of CTRL Section 1, regional Eurostar set 373313/14 was used to set the current UK rail-speed record. Set 373313/14 is named "Entente Cordiale" has seen use as a VIP charter train having transported the Queen on a state visit to France and to the Entente Cordiale anniversary celebrations in 2004. On 2007-06-12 the unit was used to ferry International Olympic Committee inspectors from Stratford International to London St. Pancras, as a demonstration for Olympic Javelin services in 2012.
Also part of the proposals were international Nightstar sleeper trains along the same routes plus the Great Western main line to Cardiff. These also did not operate and the constructed coaches were sold to VIA Rail in Canada, which branded them as Renaissance Cars.
Eurostar services are under unified management, the Eurostar Group. In each country, a member company undertakes Eurostar operation:
Eurostar is a member of Railteam, a marketing alliance formed in July 2007 of seven European high-speed rail operators, including Thalys. The alliance plans to allow tickets bookable from one side of Europe to the other on one website.
 See also
 External links
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