Happy Birthday Eurostar

Eurostar

Nous avons célébré en décembre 2014, les 20 ans du célèbre train traversant la Manche. Cet anniversaire nous fournit l’occasion de revenir ici sur l’histoire de l’Eurostar.

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Since 1802, the idea of a tunnel under the Channel has been in some engineers’ minds. In 1896, it began to become a reality with the announcement by Francois Mitterrand and Margaret Thatcher that the Eurotunnel company would build the tunnel. The Channel Tunnel was inaugurated on May 6th, 1994, with Queen Elizabeth II and President François Mitterrand. Then, the first Eurostar crossed the Channel on November 14th, 1994, connecting Paris – Gare du Nord and London – Waterloo International also Lille – Europe and Brussels – Midi. Today, the train goes from Paris to London – St Pancras in just 2 hours and 15 minutes. It is also possible to go to Marne-la-vallée (Disneyland), Calais, Avignon, and Ashford for example, even if 70% of all passengers travel on Paris-London and Brussels-London.

The Eurostar is now really famous and according to its press office “the most popular route“. Thus, since 2007, the company has been profitable, especially because the number of passengers never stops growing, with a record in the summer of 2014. For 20 years, Eurostar has carried 140 million passengers.

EurostarTimeline                                               

Passengers are most often satisfied with their trips. Eurostar cares about comfort in its trains. That is why, Eurostar decided in 2010 to buy new more comfortable and modern trains with free Wi-Fi.

EurostarPassengers

But sometimes incidents occur and they’re never good for the company’s image. In 2000, a major derailment incident happened and fourteen people were treated for light injuries or shock, with no fatalities or major injuries.

Eurostar2

It caused quite a stir when when Eurostar decided to buy new trains from Siemens, although Alstom was its first supplier. Eurostar specifically said that the trains didn’t respect safety standards. There was an intense debate about this fact which remains unclear. On the one hand, some people say that it is totally wrong and foolish to buy trains which aren’t congruent, because safety standards are a key criterion when it comes to buying trains. On the other hand, some think Alstom actually respected all the constraints and only made a slightly less “practical” train than Siemens. After all Siemens was only chosen because the ICE (Intercity-Express) is more “practical”.

Today, Eurostar has become the most used means of transport to cross the Channel. With a turnover of 687.3 million pounds in 2012, Eurostar is a productive and powerful company. Moreover, Eurostar is also a dynamic company which continues to have new projects, the latest being the new permanent link Lyon-Provence, serving Lyon, Avignon and Marseilles in service from May 2015.

Elena GROULEAUD & Mathilde BOCLET
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