Eurotunnel has announced that its Europorte Channel subsidiary had been granted approval to operate its fleet of Class 92 locomotives on HS 1 and once driver training is completed, commercial freight services will be launched early in 2012.
Europorte Channel’s fleet of 11 Class 92s to haul freight trains through the Channel Tunnel and on HS1.
The latest class 92 accreditation was achieved in December and the locomotives were originally designed to use the Channel Tunnel and HS1. The infrastructure was designed to accommodate standard European wagons and swap bodies so the time is now right to put the pieces together to run a more efficient freight service.
With the 11 strong class 92 fleet gaining accreditation for HS1, only one locomotive change on international services between Britain and Europe will now be required as the Class 92 is already approved for operation on Network Rail, but not yet on the RFF network in France.
‘This is very good news for the future of rail freight in the UK and internationally’, said John Smith, Managing Director of Eurotunnel’s UK freight operating subsidiary GB Railfreight. ‘The extra speed and increased size of wagons that can be carried on HS1 bring significant advantages to rail freight transportation and we hope that this move will pave the way for further expansion of rail freight through the Channel Tunnel’.
In addition to the larger loading gauge, using HS1 potentially reduces transit time between London and the Channel Tunnel to 70 minutes, saving nearly three hours by traditional routes.
Rail.co.uk has already reported on the first revenue freight service on HS1 arrived in London on November 11 behind a DB Schenker Rail Class 92, having left Wroclaw in Poland on November 8. So now it seems that once GB Railfreight drivers are passed to use HS1, more freight should run at a reduced time and cost, a win-win situation.