High Speed 1

High Speed 1
High Speed 1

High Speed 1 approaching the Medway Viaducts.
Type High-speed rail
Freight rail (on trial)[1]
Status Operational
Locale United Kingdom (Greater London
South East England)
Termini London St Pancras
Channel Tunnel
Stations 4
Opened 2003 (Section 1)
2007 (Section 2)
Owner London & Continental Railways
Operator(s) Eurostar, Southeastern, DB Schenker
Rolling stock Class 373/1 (from 2003)
Class 395 (from 2009)
Class 92 (from 2011)[1]
DB ICE3 Class 407 (from 2013)
Eurostar e320 Velaro (from 2014)
Network Rail MPV (maintenance)
Eurotunnel Class 0001 (rescue)
Line length 108 km (67 mi)
No. of tracks Double track throughout
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) Standard gauge
Loading gauge UIC GC[5]
Electrification 25 kV 50 Hz OHLE
Operating speed 300 to 230 km/h (186 to 143 mph)[2][3][4]
Route map
Continuation backward
West Coast Main Line
Junction from left
North London Line
Track turning from left Unknown BSicon "KRZo"
Midland Main Line
Transverse terminus from left Unknown BSicon "ABZgf" Straight track
0 km London St Pancras London Underground
Head station Junction both to and from left Junction to right
London King's Cross
Track turning left Unknown BSicon "KRZol" Unknown BSicon "KRZo"
East Coast Main Line
Enter tunnel Continuation forward
North London Line
Unknown BSicon "tSTR"
London Tunnel 1 (7.5 km)
Exit tunnel Unknown BSicon "KDSTxa"
Temple Mills Eurostar Depot (single track)
Station on track Enter and exit short tunnel
9 km Stratford International Docklands Light Railway
Junction to left Track turning right
Temple Mills Line
Enter tunnel
10 km London Tunnel 2 (10 km)
Junction to left Unknown BSicon "tKRZ" Track turning from right
21 km Ripple Lane freight connection
One way backward Exit tunnel One way forward
(to Great Eastern Main Line and North London Line)
Track turning left Unknown BSicon "ABZdg" Track turning right
Bridge over water
Rainham viaduct (0.5 km)
Unknown BSicon "KRZo"
27 km Aveley viaduct (1 km)
Unknown BSicon "AKRZo"
30 km Thurrock viaduct (A282) (1.2 km)
Enter and exit tunnel
32 km Thames Tunnel (2.5 km)
Junction to left + Interchange on track
Track turning from right
37 km Ebbsfleet International
Continuation backward Straight track Continuation forward
North Kent Line
Straight track Unrestricted border on track
Phase 1 - Phase 2 boundary
Junction to left Junction from right
39 km Fawkham Junction link line
Abbreviated in this map Straight track
to Chatham Main Line for London Waterloo
Abbreviated in this map Non-passenger station/depot on track
Singlewell passing loop and depot
Abbreviated in this map Unknown BSicon "BRÜCKEa"
50km Medway Viaduct (1.2km)
Track turning left Unknown BSicon "hKRZ" Continuation to right
over Chatham Main Line
Continuation to left Unknown BSicon "hKRZ" Continuation to right
over Medway Valley Line
Elevated over water
over River Medway
Enter and exit tunnel
54 km North Downs Tunnel (3.2 km)
Straight track
Non-passenger station/depot on track
Lenham Heath passing loop
Enter tunnel
88 km Ashford cut and cover tunnel (1.5 km)
Track turning from left Unknown BSicon "tKRZ" Unknown BSicon "ABZ3rg"
Maidstone East Line
Unknown BSicon "ABZdg" Unknown BSicon "tABZdf" Junction from right
South Eastern Main Line
Junction from left Unknown BSicon "tKRZ" Track turning right
89 km
Station on track Exit tunnel
90 km Ashford International
Junction to right Unknown BSicon "BRÜCKEa"
Marshlink Line
Straight track Elevated Non-passenger head station
Ashford CTRL-DS Depot (Hitachi)
Junction to left Unknown BSicon "hKRZ" Unknown BSicon "ABZ3lf"
Ashford to Ramsgate
Junction to left Unknown BSicon "hKRZ" Track turning from right
91 km Ashford Flyover (1.5 km)
Straight track Unknown BSicon "BRÜCKEe" One way forward
Junction to left Unknown BSicon "ABZdg" Track turning right
Abbreviated in this map Straight track
Abbreviated in this map Straight track
Enter tunnel Junction to left Track turning from right
Unknown BSicon "tÜWKul" Unknown BSicon "ÜWor" Unknown BSicon "evSTRa"
Unknown BSicon "ÜWo+l" Unknown BSicon "ÜWu+r" Unknown BSicon "evSTR"
Unknown BSicon "KRZo" Junction to right Unknown BSicon "evSTR"
South Eastern Main Line
Straight track Unknown BSicon "eABZrg" Unknown BSicon "evSTRrf"
One way backward Non-passenger station/depot on track One way forward
106 km Dollands Moor Freight terminal
Track turning left Unknown BSicon "ABZdg" Track turning right
Unknown BSicon "AKRZ-UKo"
Track turning from left Unknown BSicon "KRZo" Track turning from right
108 km CTRL/Eurotunnel boundary
One way backward Straight track One way forward
Track turning left Junction from right Non-passenger station/depot on track
Cheriton Shuttle Terminal (Folkestone)
Junction from left Track turning right
Enter tunnel
109 km Channel Tunnel to LGV Nord
Unknown BSicon "tÜST"
Unknown BSicon "tGRENZE"
France–UK border

High Speed 1 (HS1), officially known as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) and originally as the Continental Main Line (CML), is a 108-kilometre (67 mi) high-speed railway line running from London through Kent to the British end of the Channel Tunnel.

The line was built to carry international passenger traffic from the United Kingdom to Continental Europe; additionally it carries domestic passenger traffic to and from towns and cities in Kent, and has the potential to carry Berne gauge freight traffic. The completed line, crossing over the River Medway and underneath the River Thames to London St Pancras railway station, opened on 14 November 2007.[6] The line allows speeds of 230 to 300 kilometres per hour (143 to 186 mph) and cost £5.8 billion to build.[7] There are intermediate stations at Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International.

International passenger services are currently provided by Eurostar, with journey times of London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord in 2 hours 15 minutes, and St Pancras to Brussels-South in 1 hour 51 minutes,[8] using a fleet of 27 Class 373/1 multi-system trains capable of 300 kilometres per hour (186 mph). Other, competing, passenger operators are expected to use the line in future.

Domestic high-speed commuter services serving the intermediate stations and beyond began on 13 December 2009. The fleet of 29 Class 395 passenger trains are permitted to reach speeds of 225 kilometres per hour (140 mph).[9]

DB Schenker is planning to run intermodal freight trains. The first of five planned trials of a modified Class 92 locomotive hauling a loaded container train ran on 27 May 2011.[10]

The CTRL project was one of the United Kingdom's largest civil engineering projects, encompassing many new bridges and tunnels with a combined length nearly as long as the Channel Tunnel itself. During construction of the CTRL, significant archaeological research was undertaken.[11] In 2002, the CTRL project was awarded the "Major Project Award" at the British Construction Industry Awards.[12] The CTRL has seen periods of financial difficulty, and the line was transferred to government ownership in 2009, with a 30-year concession for its operation being put up for sale in June 2010.[13] The concession was awarded to a consortium of Borealis Infrastructure (part of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System) and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan in November 2010,[14] but does not include the freehold or rights to any of the associated land.[15]


Early history

A high-speed rail line, LGV Nord, has been in operation between the Channel Tunnel and the outskirts of Paris since the Tunnel's opening in 1994.[16] This has enabled Eurostar rail services to travel at 300 km/h (186 mph) for this part of their journey. A similar high-speed line in Belgium, from the French border to Brussels, HSL 1, opened in 1997.[17][18] However, in Britain, Eurostar trains had to run at a maximum of 160 km/h (100 mph) on existing tracks between London, Waterloo and the Channel Tunnel.[19] These tracks were shared with local traffic, limiting the number of services that could be run, and jeopardising reliability.[20] The case for a high-speed line similar to the continental part of the route was recognised by policymakers,[21] and the construction of the line was authorised by Parliament with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act 1996,[22] which was amended by the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Supplementary Provisions) Act 2008.[23][24]

The original plan for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link involved a tunnel reaching London from the south-east, and an underground terminus in the vicinity of Kings Cross station. However a late change in the plans, principally driven by the then Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine's desire for urban regeneration in east London, led to a change of route, with the new line approaching London from the east. This opened the possibility of reusing the underused St Pancras station as the terminus, with access via the North London Line that crosses the throat of the station.[25]

The idea of using the North London line proved illusory, and it was rejected in 1994 by the then Transport Secretary, John MacGregor, as too difficult to construct and environmentally damaging.[26] However, the idea of using St Pancras station as the core of the new terminus was retained, albeit now linked by 20 kilometres (12 miles) of specially built tunnels to Dagenham via Stratford.[25]

London and Continental Railways (LCR) was chosen by the UK government in 1996 to build the line and to reconstruct St Pancras station as its terminus, and to take over the British share of the Eurostar operation, Eurostar (UK). The original LCR consortium members were National Express Group, Virgin Group, S. G. Warburg & Co, Bechtel and London Electric.[27][28] While the project was under development by British Rail it was managed by Union Railways, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of LCR. On 14 November 2006, LCR adopted High Speed 1 as the brand name for the completed railway.[29] Official legislation, documentation and line-side signage, however, have continued to refer to "CTRL".

The project

As the 1987 Channel Tunnel Act made government funding for a Channel tunnel rail link unlawful,[30] construction did not take place as it was not financially viable. Construction was delayed until passage of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act 1996[22] which provided construction powers that ran for the following 10 years.

The whole route was to have been built as a single project, but in 1998 serious financial difficulties arose, and extensive changes came with a British government rescue plan.[31] To reduce risk, the line was split into two separate phases,[32] to be managed by Union Railways (South) and Union Railways (North). A recovery programme was agreed whereby LCR sold government-backed bonds worth £1.6 billion to pay for the construction of section 1, with the future of section 2 still not settled.

The original intention had been for the new railway, once completed, to be run by Union Railways as a separate line from the rest of the British railway network. However, as part of the 1998 rescue it was agreed that, following completion, section 1 would be purchased by Railtrack with an option to purchase section 2. In return, Railtrack was committed to operate the whole route as well as St Pancras railway station, which, unlike all other former British Rail stations, was transferred to LCR/Union Railways in 1996.[33]

In 2001, Railtrack announced that, due to its own financial problems, it would not undertake to purchase section 2,[34][35][36] triggering a second restructuring.[37] The 2002 plan agreed that the two sections would have different owners (Railtrack for section 1, LCR for section 2) but with common Railtrack management. Following further financial problems at Railtrack,[38] its interest was sold back to LCR, who then sold the operating rights for the completed line to Network Rail, Railtrack's successor.[39] Under this arrangement LCR became the sole owner of both sections of the CTRL and the St Pancras property, as per the original 1996 plan. Amendments were made in 2001 for the new station at Stratford International and connections to the West Coast Main Line.

As a consequence of the restructuring, in 2006 the LCR consortium consisted of construction firms Arup, Bechtel, Halcrow and Systra (who form Rail Link Engineering (RLE)), transport operators National Express Group and SNCF (who operate the Eurostar (UK) share of the Eurostar service with the National Railway Company of Belgium and British Airways), electricity company EDF and UBS Investment Bank. On completion of section 1 by RLE, the line was handed over to Union Railways (South), who then handed it over to London & Continental Stations and Property (LCSP), the long-term owners of the line. Once section 2 of the line had been completed it was handed over to Union Railways (North), who handed it over to LCSP. The entire line, including St Pancras, is managed, operated and maintained by Network Rail.

In February 2006 there were rumours that a 'third party' (believed to be a consortium headed by banker Sir Adrian Montague) had expressed an interest in buying out the present partners in the project.[40] LCR shareholders rejected the proposal,[41] and the government, who effectively could overrule shareholders' decisions as a result of LCR's reclassification as a state-owned body,[42] decided that discussions with shareholders would not take place imminently, effectively backing shareholders' views on the proposed takeover.[41]

By May 2009 LCR had become insolvent and the government received agreement to use state aid to purchase the line and also to open it up to competition to allow other services to use it apart from Eurostar.[43] LCR's thitherto wholly owned subsidiary, HS1 Ltd, thus became the property of the Secretary of State for Transport.[44] On 12 October 2009 a proposal was announced to sell £16 billion of state assets including HS1 Ltd in the following two years to cut UK public debt.[45] The government announced on 5 November 2010 that a concession to operate the line for 30 years had been sold for £2.1 billion to a consortium of Canadian investors.[14] Under the concession, HS1 Ltd has the rights to sell access to track and to the four international stations (St Pancras, Stratford, Ebbsfleet and Ashford) on a commercial basis, under the scrutiny of the Office of Rail Regulation. At the end of 30 years, ownership of the assets will revert to government.[44]


Train 3313/3314 was converted into a laboratory train, here reaching 300 km/h during commissioning of Section 1 in 2003
A Eurostar service on the CTRL, near Ashford

Section 1

Section 1 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, opened on 28 September 2003, is a 74-kilometre (46 mi) section of high-speed track from the Channel Tunnel to Fawkham Junction in north Kent. Its completion cut the London–Paris journey time by around 21 minutes, to 2 hours 35 minutes. The line includes the Medway Viaduct, a 1.2 km (¾ mile) bridge over the River Medway and the North Downs Tunnel, a 3.2 km (2.0 mi) long, 12 m (40 ft) diameter tunnel. In safety testing on the section prior to opening, a new UK rail speed record of 334.7 km/h (208.0 mph) was set.[46] Much of the new line runs alongside the M2 and M20 motorways through Kent. After its completion, Eurostar trains continued to use suburban lines to enter London, arriving at Waterloo International.

There were a number of deaths of employees working on the CTRL over the construction period. One occurred on 28 March 2003 near Folkestone when a worker came into contact with the energised power supply.[47] Another death occurred two months later, in May 2003, when a scaffolder fell seven metres at Thurrock, Essex.[48] This death resulted in three companies being found guilty of breaching health and safety legislation, omitting to provide barriers, which resulted in Deverson Direct Ltd being ordered to pay a fine of £50,000, J Murphy and Sons Ltd £25,000, and Hochtief Aktiengesellschaft £25,000.[48] Two more deaths relate to a fire onboard a train carrying wires, one mile inside a tunnel under the Thames between Swanscombe, Kent, and Thurrock, Essex on 16 August 2005. The train shunter died at the scene[49] and the train driver later died in hospital.[50] It has been suggested that a large amount of blame for accidents throughout the project lay with individual behaviour, becoming such a problem that an internal programme was launched to tackle behaviour problems during the construction.[51]

Unlike most LGV stations in France, the through tracks for Ashford International railway station are off to one side rather than going through, partly due to Ashford International predating the line.[52] High Speed 1 approaches Ashford International from the north in a cut-and-cover "box"; the southbound line rises out of this cutting and crosses over the main tracks to enter the station. The main tracks then rise out of the cutting and over a flyover. On leaving Ashford, southbound Eurostars return to the high-speed line by travelling under this flyover and joining from the outside. The international platforms at Ashford are supplied with both overhead 25 kV and 3rd rail 750V, avoiding the need to switch power supplies.

Section 2

A model of the redevelopment of the King's Cross area. The barrel-vaulted extended St Pancras Station is on the left.

Section 2 of the project opened on 14 November 2007 and is a 39.4 km (24.5 mi) stretch of track from the newly built Ebbsfleet station in Kent to London St Pancras. Completion of the section cut journey times by a further 20 minutes (London–Paris in 2h 15m; London–Brussels in 1h 51m). The route starts with a 2.5-kilometre (1.6 mi) tunnel which dives under the Thames on the edge of Swanscombe, then runs alongside the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway as far as Dagenham, where it enters a 19-kilometre (12 mi) tunnel (51°31′36.9″N 0°8′13.9″E / 51.526917°N 0.137194°E / 51.526917; 0.137194), before emerging over the East Coast Main Line near St Pancras. The tunnels are divided into London East and London West sections, between which a 1-kilometre stretch runs close to the surface to serve Stratford International and the Temple Mills Depot.

The new depot at Temple Mills, to the north of Stratford, replaced the North Pole depot in the west of London.[53] In testing, the first Eurostar train ran in St Pancras on 6 March 2007.[54] All CTRL connections are fully grade-separated. This is achieved through use of viaducts, bridges, cuttings and in one case, the tunnel portal itself.


Ashford International

A high-speed tunnel and flyover take non-stopping trains past Ashford International at 270 km/h (170 mph)

This station was rebuilt as Ashford International during the early 1990s for international services from mainland Europe; this included the addition of two platforms to the north of station (the original down island platform had been taken over by international services). Unlike normal LGV stations in France, the through tracks for Ashford International railway station are off to one side rather than going through.[52] The number of services was reduced after the opening of the Ebbsfleet station. A high-speed domestic service operated by Southeastern to London St Pancras began on 29 June 2009.

Ebbsfleet International

Ebbsfleet International railway station in the borough of Dartford, Kent is 10 miles outside the eastern boundary of Greater London and opened to the public on 19 November 2007.[55] and is now Eurostar's main station in Kent.[56][57][58] Two of the platforms are designed for international passenger trains and four for high-speed domestic services.[59]

St Pancras International

Eurostar train at St Pancras International Railway Station

The terminus for the high-speed line in London is St Pancras railway station. During the 2000s, towards the end of the construction of the CTRL, the entire station complex was renovated, expanded and rebranded as St Pancras International,[60][61] with a new security-sealed terminal area for Eurostar trains to continental Europe.[62] In addition, it retained traditional domestic connections to the north and south of England. The new extension doubled the length of the central platforms now used for Eurostar services; new platforms have been provided for existing domestic East Midlands Trains and the Southeastern high-speed services that run along High Speed 1 to Kent.[63] New platforms on the Thameslink line across London were built beneath the western margins of the station, and the station at King's Cross Thameslink was closed.

A complex junction has been built north of St Pancras with connections to the East Coast Main Line, North London Line (for West Coast Main Line) and Midland Main Line, allowing for a wide variety of potential destinations albeit on conventional rails. As part of the works, tunnels connecting the East Coast Main Line to the Thameslink route were also built in readiness for the forthcoming Thameslink Programme.

Stratford International

Stratford International railway station was not part of the original government plans for the CTRL.[64] Completed in April 2006, it opened on 30 November 2009 when the domestic preview Southeastern highspeed services started calling there.[65] An extension of the Docklands Light Railway opened to Stratford International in August 2011.[66] It forms part of the complex of railway stations for the main site where the 2012 Summer Olympics will be held.[67]

Temple Mills Depot in Leyton is used for storage and servicing of Eurostar trains and off peak berthing of Class 395 Southeastern high-speed trains.


The railway is maintained from Singlewell Infrastructure Maintenance Depot.


Both track and signalling technology (TVM-430 + KVB) are based on or identical to the standards used on the French LGV high-speed lines. The areas around St Pancras and Gare du Nord use KVB signalling with the whole of the high-speed route to Paris (CTRL, Channel Tunnel, LGV Nord) using TVM-430. Signalling tests before opening were performed by the SNCF-owned "Lucie" test car.[68]

The track is 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) Standard gauge[5] cleared to a larger modern European GC loading gauge[5] enabling GC gauge freight as far as the yards at Barking.[69][70] The line is electrified entirely using overhead lines with 25 kV AC railway electrification.


After local protests,[71][72] early plans were modified to put more of the route into tunnels up until a point approximately 1 mile (2 km) from St. Pancras, previously the CTRL was planned to run on an elevated section alongside the North London Line on approach into the line's terminus. The twin tunnels bored under London were driven from Stratford westwards towards St Pancras, eastwards towards Dagenham and from Dagenham westwards to connect with the tunnel from Stratford. The tunnel boring machines were 120 metres long and weighed 1,100 tonnes. The depth of the tunnels vary from a depth of 24 metres to 50 metres.

The construction works were complex and a large number of contractors were involved in delivering them.[73] The CTRL Section 2 construction works had caused considerable disruption around the Kings Cross area of London, however in their wake redevelopment was stimulated.[74][75] The huge redevelopment area includes the run-down areas of post-industrial and ex-railway land close to King's Cross and St Pancras, a conservation area with many listed buildings; this was promoted as one of the benefits for building the CTRL.[76] However it has been postulated that this development was actually suppressed by the construction project,[77] and some of the affected districts are still in a poor state.[78]

Connection line to Waterloo

A 4-kilometre (2.5 mi) connecting line providing access for Waterloo railway station leaves High Speed 1 at Southfleet Junction using a grade-separated junction; the main CTRL tracks continue uninterrupted through to CTRL Section 2 underneath the southbound flyover. The connection joins the Chatham Main Line at Fawkham Junction with a flat crossing. The retention of Eurostar services to Waterloo after the line to St Pancras opened was ruled out on cost grounds.[79] Waterloo International closed upon opening of the section two of the CTRL in November 2007; Eurostar now serves the refurbished St Pancras as its only London terminal, so this connecting line is no longer used.[80][81]


High Speed 1 was built to allow eight trains per hour through to the Channel Tunnel.[82] As of December 2010, Eurostar runs one or two trains per hour through to the Channel Tunnel.[83] Southeastern has in the high peak eight trains per hour between London and Ebbsfleet, two of these continuing on to Ashford.[84] During the 2012 Olympic Games Southeastern are to provide the Olympic Javelin service with up to twelve trains per hour from Stratford into London.[85]


The route was built with freight provision from the beginning. The route has spurs leading from the freight terminal at Dollands Moor (Folkestone), and to the freight depot at Ripplelane (north of the River Thames). Long passing loops for freight trains to stop while passenger trains passed by were specifically built at Lenham Heath and Singlewell.

Freight trains operated by EWS first ran over CTRL Section 1, on the consecutive evenings of 3–4 April 2004. five freight trains—that would have run via the classic lines—were diverted to run over the Channel Tunnel Rail Link instead: three southbound intermodal trains on 3 April 2004 and two northbound intermodal trains on 4 April 2004.[86]


The railway is operated on an open access basis. Trains are operated by several different organisations all operating over the same track. HS1 Ltd. is the network manager for the line, stations, and other infrastructure.[87]

Network Rail (CTRL)

HS1 Ltd is responsible for overall managing and running of the line—along with the international railway stations at St Pancras, Stratford, Ashford and Ebbsfleet[88]—with responsibility for the infrastructure itself sub-contracted to Network Rail (CTRL) Ltd acting as the controller and infrastructure manager.[89] Network Rail (CTRL) Limited was created as a subsidiary of Network Rail on 26 September 2003 for £57 million to take over the assets of the CTRL renewal and maintenance operations.[90] In respect of its duties, Network Rail (CTRL) operate a number of engineering, track maintenance machines, rescue locomotives, and infrastructure- and test trains.[91] Eurotunnel's subsidiary Europorte 2 operates its Eurotunnel Class 0001 (Krupp/Mak 6400) rescue locomotives on the line when required.[92]

Various track recording trains run as necessary, including visits by the New Measurement Train. On the night of 4/5 May 2011 the SNCF TGV Iris 320 laboratory train took over, being hauled from Coquolles to St Pancras and back, towed by Eurotunnel Krupp locomotives numbers 4 and 5.[93] The Iris 320 runs for Network Rail (CTRL) are an extension of the 100 km/h monitoring cycle already undertaken by SNCF International since December 2010 for Eurotunnel every two months.[94][95]


A Eurostar train passing Strood, on approach to the Medway bridge

The Eurostar service uses about 40% of the capacity of High Speed 1,[96] which in November 2007 became the company's route for all its services.[97] Eurostar trains are for international traffic only, passing along the high-speed line from London St Pancras railway station to the Channel Tunnel, with the majority[98] terminating at either Paris Gare de Nord in France or Brussels-South railway station in Belgium.[99][100] Currently the trains operated by Eurostar are the only ones to make full use of the high speeds on the line; a Eurostar train was used to set a new British rail speed record of 334.7 km/h (208 mph) on 30 July 2003.[101][102] The British component of Eurostar is owned by London and Continental Railways, which also owns High Speed 1 and the infrastructure on it.[103]

On 4 September 2007, a train travelled from Paris Gare du Nord to St. Pancras in 2 hours 3 minutes and 39 seconds.[104] On 19 September 2007, a train travelled from Brussels South to St. Pancras in 1 hour 43 minutes.[105]

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Routes operated   Built 
 mph   km/h 
Class 373 Eurostar Eurostar at St Pancras railway station.jpg Electric multiple unit 186 300 28 LondonParis
London–Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy
London–Avignon Centre
London–Bourg Saint Maurice


A Southeastern Class 395 train departing from London St Pancras railway station on a preview domestic service

Domestic high-speed services on High Speed 1 are operated by Southeastern. Having been in planning since 2004,[106] a preview service of the British Rail Class 395 trains, popularly known as Javelins, started in June 2009,[59] and regular services began on 13 December 2009. The quickest journey time from Ashford to London St Pancras is 35 minutes,[107] compared with 60 minutes for the service to London Charing Cross via Tonbridge.[108] This service on Section 2 of the CTRL, known previously as CTRL-DS, was a factor in London's successful 2012 Olympic Bid, promising a seven-minute journey time from the Olympic Park at Stratford to the London terminus at St Pancras.[109] Although the Class 395 has a maximum speed of 225 km/h (140 mph), for timetabling purposes a 10% lower speed is assumed.[110] However, these trains have faster acceleration than the Eurostar units.[111]

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Routes operated   Built 
 mph   km/h 
Class 395 Javelin St Pancras railway station MMB 01 395018.jpg Electric multiple unit 140 225 29 St Pancras–Stratford International-
Ebbsfleet International-Ashford International-Ramsgate/ Dover Priory.[112]
Maidstone West-Strood-Gravesend-St Pancras[113]

DB Schenker

DBS Class 92s have hauled freights trials over High Speed 1
CTRL North Downs Tunnel, northern portal under Blue Bell Hill

DB Schenker is a global freight operator with a large interest in freight over rail in Europe.[114] While High Speed 1 was constructed with freight loops, no freight traffic had run upon the line since opening in 2003.[115] On 16 April 2009 DB Schenker signed an agreement with HS1 Ltd, the owner of High Speed 1, for a partnership to develop TVM modifications for class 92 freight locomotives to run upon the line.[116] On 25 March 2011 for the first time a modified class 92 locomotive travelled from Dollands Moor to Singlewell using the TVM430 signalling system.[1] A loaded container train ran for the first time on 27 May 2011, to Novara in Italy, and further trials with loaded wagons are planned until the end of June 2011.[10][117]

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Built   Notes 
 mph   km/h 
Class 92 92027 George Eliot at Stafford.jpg Electric locomotive 87 140 46 1993 92009 first to be converted for Channel Tunnel Rail Link usage with the necessary TVM modifications[citation needed]

Future operations

At present, only Deutsche Bahn has applied for use of the line and in 2009 regulations were relaxed to allow its trains to use the tunnel. Other proposals are yet to be formalised.

Deutsche Bahn

Deutsche Bahn is planning services using Siemens Velaro D trains. A sixteen-car version has been ordered by Eurostar

In November 2007, it was reported that Deutsche Bahn, Germany's national train company, had applied to use the Channel Tunnel and High Speed 1 into London.[118] This was denied by Deutsche Bahn, and the bi-national Channel Tunnel Safety Authority confirmed that it had not received such an application.[119] The plan was delayed by safety regulations as Deutsche Bahn's fleet of ICE 3M high-speed trains could not be divided in the tunnel in an emergency.[120]

In December 2008, it was reported that Deutsche Bahn (DB) was interested in buying the British share in Eurostar,[121] which in practice means buying Eurostar (U.K.) Ltd., the 100% subsidiary of London and Continental Railways (LCR), which the British government intends to break up and sell just as it does the other rail-related subsidiary of L&CR, HS1 Ltd.[122][123] The buyer of EUKL would become the owner of the 11 British "Three Capitals" Class 373 trainsets plus all seven "North of London" sets, and would also be responsible for the operations of Eurostar traffic within Britain once the management contract with ICRR expires in 2010. Guillaume Pépy, the president of SNCF, who held a press conference the same day, described DB's interest as "premature, presumptuous and arrogant".[124] SNCF claims to own 62% of the shares of Eurostar Group Ltd. Hartmut Mehdorn, former CEO of Deutsche Bahn, confirmed DB's interest but insisted in a letter to Pépy that DB had only informally requested information and not made any official requests to Britain's Department for Transport.[125]

In 2009, Eurotunnel (the owners of the Channel Tunnel) announced that it was prepared to start relaxing the fire safety regulations, in order to permit other operators, such as Deutsche Bahn, to transport passengers via the Tunnel using other forms of rolling stock.[126] Under the deregulation of European railway service, high-speed lines were opened up to access by other operators on 1 January 2010; the Inter-Governmental Commission on the Channel Tunnel (IGC) announced that it was considering relaxing the safety requirements concerning train splitting. LCR suggested that high-speed rail services between London and Cologne could commence before the 2012 Olympics.[127]

In March 2010 Eurotunnel, HS1 Ltd, DB and other interested train operators formed a working group to discuss changes to the safety rules, including allowing 200-metre trains. The Intergovernmental Commission currently requires trains to be 400m long.[128] Deutsche Bahn carried out evacuation trials in the tunnel on 17 October 2010 with two 200m-long ICE3 trains, and displayed one of them at St Pancras station on 19 October.[129] The current Velaro ICE3 sets do not meet the fire safety requirements for passenger services through the tunnel, but the Siemens Velaro D sets on order include the necessary additional fire-proofing.[130] In March 2011, the European Rail Agency decided to allow trains with distributed traction to operate in the Channel Tunnel.[131] DB is planning three services a day to Frankfurt (5h from London), Rotterdam (3h) and Amsterdam (4h) via Brussels from December 2013.[129][132]

Veolia's planned use of the AGV train would cut journey times to London


In September 2008, Air France-KLM indicated a desire to take advantage of the change in the law and apply to run rail services, in cooperation with Veolia, from London to Paris and from Paris to Amsterdam, in competition with Eurostar and Thalys respectively, with the intention of purchasing or leasing a number of the new AGV multiple units currently being tested.[133][134] However, in October 2009 Air France withdrew its interest. This led to Veolia looking for new partners, with the announcement that it would begin working on new proposals in cooperation with Trenitalia to run services from Paris to Strasbourg, London and Brussels.[135]


Spanish AVE train

Spanish railway operator RENFE has also shown an interest in running AVE services from Spain to London[136] via Paris, Lyon, Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon (using the Madrid–Barcelona high-speed rail line) once its AVE network is connected to France via the Barcelona to Figueras and Perpignan to Figueras lines in 2012.[137]

Transmanche Metro

In February 2010, local councillors from Kent and Pas-de-Calais announced they were in talks to establish a frequent local rail service between the regional stations along the route. Trains would leave Lille and stop at Calais, Ashford and Stratford before reaching London St. Pancras. Currently, Ashford and Calais have an infrequent service and Eurostar trains do not call at Stratford. The initiative is part of Calais' branding as part of the UK in order to benefit from the 2012 London Olympics but is supported on both sides of the channel to bring in more commuters.[138]

See also


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  • Young, George; Alison Gorlov (1995). Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Union Railways. 
  • National Audit Office (2001). Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions: The Channel Tunnel Rail Link. The Stationery Office. ISBN 0102868018. 
  • National Audit Office (2005). Progress on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. The Stationery Office. ISBN 010293343X. 
  • Montagu, Samuel; Department of Transport (1993). Channel Tunnel Rail Link. HMSO. 
  • Bertolini, Luca; Tejo Spit (1998). Cities on rails: the redevelopment of railway station areas. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0419227601. 

Further reading

  • Pielow, Simon (1997). Eurostar. Ian Allan. ISBN 071102-451-0. 
  • Anderson, Graham; Roskrow, Ben (1994). The Channel Tunnel Story. London: E & F N Spon. ISBN 041919620X. 
  • European Commission Directorate-General for Regional Policy and Cohesion (1996). The regional impact of the Channel Tunnel throughout the Community. Luxembourg: European Commission. ISBN 92 826 8804 6. 
  • Sievert, Terri (2002). The World's Fastest Trains. Capstone Press. ISBN 073681-061-7. 
  • Griffiths, Jeanne (1995). London to Paris in Ten Minutes: The Eurostar Story. Images. ISBN 189781-747-9. 
  • Comfort, Nicholas (2007). The Channel Tunnel and its High Speed Links. Oakwood Press. ISBN 156554-854-x. 
  • Parliament: House of Commons Transport Committee (2008). Delivering a Sustainable Railway. The Stationery Office. ISBN 021552-222-2. 
  • Mitchell, Vic (1996). Ashford: From Steam to Eurostar. Middleton Press. ISBN 187379-367-7. 

External links

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