France demands re-think of Eurostar’s train order

FRANCE has demanded a re-think of a £700m order for new trains from Eurostar after the Channel Tunnel train operator gave the deal to German manufacturer Siemens.

The French government claimed the 10 e-320 trains that Eurostar is buying do not meet tunnel safety rules.

Unlike Eurostar’s current trains, which have electric locomotives at each end and were built by French group Alstom, the Siemens trains have motors under each carriage, which Paris warned could jeopardise safety.

“Eurostar must bring the contract tender into compliance with current safety rules,” the French energy and transport ministers said.

Eurostar plans to use the new 200 mph trains and refurbished existing rolling stock to launch new services to Amsterdam, Cologne and Geneva.

German state railway Deutsche Bahn is demanding changes to tunnel safety rules to allow it to use Siemens trains for its own new services from London St Pancras to Cologne and Frankfurt starting in 2013.