Eurostar e320, a fourth-generation train of the Siemens Velaro family, is scheduled to start commercial operations in late 2015. The interoperable high-speed train will run on the London-Paris-Brussels line, traversing the Eurotunnel between the UK and mainland Europe. It was officially unveiled at St Pancras International station, London, in November 2014.
Siemens is the general contractor for the project while Pininfarina has been assigned to design both the interiors and external livery and perform similar works to revamp the existing trains in Eurostar’s fleet.
Orders for the Eurostar e320 high-speed train
Eurostar was created as a single and unified corporate entity owned by SNCF, SNCB and LCR in September 2010. In December, a £700m (approximately $1,076bn) investment to add ten new e320 trains to its fleet and carry out a complete upgrade of its existing 28 trains.
It further decided during the e320 unveiling ceremony to add seven additional e320 trains to its fleet, which will increase the overall investment in the project to £1bn (approximately $1.5bn) and the number of new e320 trains to 17.
Financing for the Eurostar e320 project
The European Investment Bank (EIB) along with seven other international banks, with KfW IPEX-Bank acting as the Mandated Lead Arranger, is providing approximately €270m (approximately $307m) for the Eurostar e320 project.
Eurostar e320 high-speed train design
With a traction power of 16,000kW, Eurostar e320 can reach a maximum operating speed of 320km/h (200mph). It is provided with eight identical and independent traction converter units and 64 axles, of which 32 are driven. Its traction system is designed to operate on 25kV AC and 1.5kV / 3kV DC voltage systems.
It is capable of carrying more than 900 passengers as a result of the 20% capacity boost given to it, compared to the existing 28Eurostar trains which carry 750 passengers. The entire propulsion system and technical modules are distributed under the floor over the entire length of the train, providing more space for passengers. The train’s roof is equipped with eight pantographs for dealing with Europe’s different power systems and contact line types.
Eurostar e320 is equipped with a regenerative braking system, a rheostatic brake system, and a pneumatic brake system. It is also fitted with special fire extinguishing equipment and fireproof doors and is designed to be operable for 30min under its own power to exit a tunnel in the event of a fire.
It is the longest train in the Velaro family and has an overall length of 400m, which is 10m longer than Eurostar’s existing trains. The train features 16 cars, with Business Premier and Standard Premier coaches located at the ends.
Signalling, control and train protection systems
The train’s signalling, control and train protection systems include a Transmission Voie-Machine (TVM) signalling system, Contrôle de Vitesse par Balises (KVB) train protection system, Transmission Beacon Locomotive (TBL) train protection system, Runback Protection System (RPS), European Train Control System (ETCS), Automatic train protection (ATP) system, Reactor Protection System (RPS) and Sibas 32 train control system.
The e320 is Wi-Fi accessible throughout and has a portal providing vital information such as live news, weather and destination guides. Onboard flat-screens are installed on all the cars and entrance areas, and seat reservation displays using OLED technology to provide easy finding of seats.
Each of the ergonomically designed reclining seats is provided with a power socket, flexible reading lamp, a sliding dining table and more luggage areas. Four spaces are provided for wheelchair passengers.
Energy-efficiency features of the Eurostar e320
The end car of the train features a high roof, which improves the sonic boom during movement through tunnels, ad-running resistance, and reduces exterior noise. Roof-mounted pantographs and air-conditioning units reduce the energy demand. The spoiler, nose and front section of the train are aerodynamically optimised.
The electric brake system of the Velaro is also energy-efficient as the surplus braking energy is fed back into the power grid, resulting in 10% energy savings and a reduction in mechanical wear.
Contractors involved with the development of Eurostar e320
Nomad Digital has been contracted to supply onboard Wi-Fi connectivity and state-of-the-art infotainment facilities for the new trains. Corys will supply a replica desk simulator of the new train in September 2015 to train the drivers of the new units.