Eurostar to run inaugural train on high speed 1the UK’s first high-speed line, from Paris to St Pancras international.

4 Sep 2007

--Eurostar aims for record journey time
--Train will run at 186mph between Channel Tunnel
and London for the first time
--Britain joins Europe's high-speed rail network
Eurostar, the high-speed train operator that links the UK with the Continent, will today (Tuesday 4 September) run its inaugural train over Britain's new 186mph high-speed line, arriving into the wonderfully restored St Pancras International, Eurostar's new London terminal.
The train from Gare du Nord station in Paris, due to depart mid-morning, is aiming to set a new record journey time, covering the 306 mile (492 km) distance to St Pancras International in less than 2 hrs and 15 minutes, the new scheduled time from November, and cutting more than 20 minutes off the current timetable of 2 hours 35 minutes between Paris and Waterloo.
Today's train will travel the full length of High Speed 1, the new line that connects Britain to Europe's fast-expanding high-speed rail network and that will enable seamless, city centre-to-city centre journeys that are already familiar to millions of continental Europeans.
High Speed 1 has been built on time and within budget and is the link bringing Paris and London - two of the world's leading cities - even closer together. The excellent connections between domestic and Eurostar services at St Pancras International will also enable travellers from towns and cities across Britain to reach mainland Europe quickly and easily. Faster journeys between the UK and the continent will help to boost business and tourism in London and in the regions – aiding the economy and adding to the UK's competitive advantage.
The UK's first high-speed line runs for 68 miles (109 km) from the Channel Tunnel near Folkestone to St Pancras International in central London. It passes through Ashford International and Eurostar's new station at Ebbsfleet International in Kent, before crossing under the River Thames and approaching the capital in tunnels under east London. Eurostar trains will travel at a speed of 186 mph (300km/h) – 50% faster than even Britain's fastest domestic rail services.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said: "Today marks Britain's entry into the European high-speed rail club. We can now run trains at high speed all the way from the Channel Tunnel to London, making journeys between cities quicker, more convenient - and far greener than flying.
"Eurostar will soon have two new stations, opening up European rail travel to millions more people across Britain. St Pancras International has numerous rail connections to towns and cities north and south of the capital, while Ebbsfleet International - just off junction 2 of the M25 and close to Bluewater shopping centre in Kent - is conveniently located for 10 million people across southern England."
Eurostar will launch services from St Pancras International on 14 November this year – in 71 days' time - having run the final trains from Waterloo the previous evening (13 November). The High Speed 1 timetable will for the first time enable UK business travellers to reach the centres of Paris and Brussels before 9am, ready for a full day's work. Leisure passengers will benefit from later evening departures, allowing them longer for their trips.
Travelling by Eurostar will enable passengers to 'tread lightly' on the environment – also the name of Eurostar's plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25% per passenger journey by 2012. From 14 November, Eurostar will offset CO2 emissions that it cannot eliminate at its own expense, making it the first train company in the world to offer 'carbon neutral' journeys to all its customers. Independent research has shown that going by Eurostar generates ten times less CO2 than flying, demonstrating that the train is far greener than the plane.
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Notes to Editors:
1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking London Waterloo (until 13 November), London St Pancras (from 14 November) Ebbsfleet (from 19 November), Ashford, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
2. Eurostar will switch its London terminal from Waterloo International and begin services from St Pancras International on 14 November 2007. Journey times on High Speed 1, the UK's first high-speed line, will be London – Paris 2h 15min; London – Brussels 1h 51min; and London - Lille 1h 20min.
3. A new station at Ebbsfleet International, just off junction 2 of the M25 near Dartford crossing and Bluewater shopping centre in north Kent, will open on 19 November. Journey times will be 10 minutes shorter than from St Pancras.
4. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe's leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
5. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies. Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates a vehicle shuttle service and the Channel tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's biggest customer.
6. To book tickets for Eurostar, or to find out more information, go to www.eurostar.com, call 08705 186 186 or contact your travel agent.
For more information:Eurostar Press Office+44 (0)20 7922 4494press.office@eurostar.co.uk