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German Eurostar competitor completes first trip to London

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn has completed a test ride through the Channel Tunnel to London for the first time. The company hopes to be able to compete with Eurostar in time for the London Olympics in 2012.

ICE train

The ICE is built by Siemens, the TGV by France's Alstom

A German high-speed train has travelled through the Channel Tunnel to London for the first time. A company spokesman said the train made its historic journey overnight and arrived at St. Pancras station.

The Inter City Express (ICE) was the first passenger train not operated by the Eurostar company to travel the Channel Tunnel. Eurostar, which is jointly owned by France, Britain and Belgium, uses French-built TGV trains on the stretch. ICE trains are built by Siemens.

New EU legislation recently opened up the route for competition. Despite protests, in particular from the French side, Germany's Deutsche Bahn (DB) rail operator is pushing to compete with Eurostar.

First services planned for 2012 Olympics

Eurostar logo at St. Pancras station

Deutsche Bahn hopes to compete with Eurostar

The first German train entered the tunnel over the weekend, when DB staged a mock evacuation to ensure that the ICE met safety standards there.

The decision to approve the German trains to run in the tunnel now rests with a French-British safety commission.

Deutsche Bahn hopes to offer services for the 2012 Olympics in London and regular service between Britain and the European continent by 2013.

Author: Andreas Illmer (apn, AFP, dpa)
Editor. Nancy Isenson

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