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Great diary, your efforts save me from having to search out the information on all these projects. Something to add... not exactly a new opening, more an opening of a private network to others. On Wednesday, FT Deutschland reported a statement by Eurotunnel that ICE trains are now passed safe to transit the Channel Tunnel. That means, if formal approval has now been granted by the safety authority made up of the two governments' representatives, that the old stipulation of a passenger train having to be capable of being split in two and each half able to exit the tunnel separately is gone. It opens up the prospect of London - Cologne/Dusseldorf/Frankfurt through trains, although the problem of secure facilities to satisfy the UK Border Agency in any such station still needs solved, including platforms for through services in Brussels, unless they run them through Belgium non-stop.

The article also revisits the question of whether DB would compete with Eurostar or buy the UK share in the operator which is currently for sale. (They could even do both, as on Cologne-Brussels where they run ICEs alongside Thalys, in which they have a 10% stake, although it would be fair to say it's not full-blooded competition.)

by koksapir on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 06:04:02 AM EST
Something to watch will be if SNCF can find creative ways to block DB's attempt at open (hostile) competition (as opposed to the pre-agreed sharing of the market on the TGV Est). In this conext, it's worth to note regarding the parallel runs in Belgium, that the ICE3 competition was long held up by the issue of ballast pickup: first they weren't allowed on the new lines at all, then only with reduced speed. Currently, there is the special situation that the ICE3 run shorter times on the sections than the Thalys (owing to higher acceleration), but the Thalys beats them on Cologne-Brussels Central trips, because the ICE3 have an additional stop in Brussels North.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 09:31:29 AM EST
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Ironically:

BBC News - Thousands freed from Channel Tunnel after trains fail

More than 2,000 people spent hours trapped inside the Channel Tunnel after five Eurostar trains broke down due to cold weather.

The trains failed as they left the cold air in northern France and entered the warmer tunnel.

Some passengers were evacuated via service tunnels to car trains, while others were kept on their trains. Many have faced gruelling 15-hour journeys.

Eurostar has cancelled all its services for Saturday.

Meanwhile, more snow and freezing temperatures are expected for parts of Scotland and south-east and eastern England.

Heavy snowfall caused travel chaos, forced schools to close and cut off power supplies in parts of the UK on Friday.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 07:31:11 AM EST
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