Published 27th April 2012
SNCF, the national railway company of France, has announced that it will order an additional 40 “Duplex” TGV sets from Alstom.
The fleet, which currently works at high speeds between Paris (Gare du Lyon) and Lyon (Part Dieu), will be expanded in a deal worth somewhere near €900M. The order is part of an option, which the SNCF has decided to exercise. Each set will be able to work in Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain, as TGV attempts to gain market share from other operators, including Thalys and Deutsche Bahn. The bulk of the construction will be done at La Rochelle.
As part of the deal, which will see more work for the Alstom plant, the company has decided to drop legal proceedings against Eurostar over the purchase of Siemens “Velaro” units. The new units, which will operate at speeds of up to 320km/h, will enable Eurostar to expand their operations to new cities such as Amsterdam. The legal action brought by Alstom was because they believed that the correct procurement procedures had not been followed.
The D. Bahn UK Press Office has confirmed to rail.co.uk that the proposed ICE trains will not now commence in 2013 at expected when the order was announced. This is due to Siemens component suppliers being delayed and so the services are now hoped to commence in December 2014.
These will be to Amsterdam and Cologne to commence with using two ICE trains coupled together as far as Brussels where they will divide.
These Open Access trains were initially billed as working a year before the new Eurostar trains were introduced but it now looks as though all the new trains will commence operations 20 years after the first services ran through the Channel Tunnel in November 1994.
Eurostar has announced that it is opening advance bookings by four weeks this summer to cater for increased demand. Tickets can be booked to all destinations now until 15 August. Eurostar services are going to be extremely busy this summer with the 2012 Olympic Games and Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London. This combined with the 20th anniversary of Disneyland Paris means holidaymakers should book their trip early.
Nick Mercer, Commercial Director for Eurostar said; “The summer months are always our busiest for leisure travel and with so many exciting events happening across Europe, we expect this summer to be more popular than ever! This is why we’ve extended our summer booking horizon to five months and we’re encouraging travellers to book early to avoid disappointment.”