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European Railroad Discussion > Eurostar Siemens Velaro e320 inside and out

Date: 02/21/20 20:54
Eurostar Siemens Velaro e320 inside and out
Author: F7sForever

Eurostar is the provider of high speed rail service from London to Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam via the Channel Tunnel between England and France. The company is based in Paris, and began operating in 1994. They also operate trains to the south of France in the summer months, and recently inaugurated direct service to Amsterdam without stopping for passport checks in Brussels.

My wife and I rode Eurostar from Paris to London in Oct. 2017, and regrettably I was so overwhelmed by the experience that I didn't actually take a lot of photos. It felt like we were in London before I realized it. The scale of running close to 200mph is just mind-boggling to those of us who don't have that luxury on a regular basis. I have participated in several high speed testing programs at TTCI in Pueblo, CO, and made numerous trips around their big test loop at 120-130mph, which felt impressive. It was somewhere on the LGV Nord north of Paris, as I watched the speed readout in the car clear 300kmph, that I realized that 135mph (about 217kmph) is the sort of stuff European travelers do before breakfast. That was about the moment I fell all the way into love with European train travel.

Our ride from Paris Gare du Nord was on one of the new Siemens-built type e320 trains, which was also pretty exciting. I was working for Siemens at the time, and one of my coworkers on the project had been part of the commissioning team for the Velaro-based trains. He talked it up. And I found the ride to be very comfortable. And quick. I was in awe staring out the window, and never left my seat to explore the train. Another one for next time.

Photo 1: A Siemens Velaro e320 train arriving at Amsterdam Centraal in Nov. 2019. The biggest difference between the newer e320 and the older trains is that the propulsion system is distributed throughout the train, so all of the cars have seats. The Eurostar version of the Velaro has 16 cars with cabs on both ends of the train, and seats 902. It is capable of 320kmph.

Photo 2: another e320 departing Gare du Nord in Paris in Sept. 2017, embarking on a journey similar to the one I would take a week later. The e320s were built from 2011 to 2018.

Photo 3: the original Eurostar trains were Alstom-built TMST (Trans-Manche Super Train) TGV derivatives. They are now class e300, denoting their 300kmph top speed. They are configured more like conventional TGVs, with power cars on each end of the train, and 18 cars seating 750 riders. In service since 1994, a number of them have been retired, but others have been rebuilt and still serve the line.

Interior photos will follow.

Date: 02/21/20 20:58
Re: Eurostar Siemens Velaro e320 inside and out
Author: F7sForever

Photos 4, 5, 6: Interir photos of the second class acommodations on the e320. Like most other European trains, a few chair groups share a small table, while the rest of the seats face toward the center of the car in pairs. I didn't take any photos of the first class accommodations, or the cafe cars.

Date: 02/21/20 21:23
Re: Eurostar Siemens Velaro e320 inside and out
Author: F7sForever

Photo 7: the TMST in photo 3 was at the Paris departure point, Gare du Nord. In London, Eurostar trains arrive and depart from St. Pancras station near the center of town. The station was extensively renovated and reopened in 2007, and Eurostar service shifted there from Waterloo shortly thereafter.

Photo 8: Owing to passport controls, Eurostar arrives in its own secured paddock, separated from other services and the rest of the station. A total of 17 arrivals and 17 departures serve St. Pancras each day.

Photo 9: The future is bright for the swift blue trains. Last September. Eurostar made public its plan to merge with Thalys (both shown here at Amsterdam Centraal in Nov. 2019) to form one giant, multi-country conglomerate to fight rising competition from airlines on its routes. St. Pancras Station also adopter Gare du Bordeaux in France as its twin, in hopes of establishing direct service between the two towns, with Eurostar being the logical provider.

Given its access to France and Belgium, Eurostar is an easy stepping stone for Englaners to reach broader international markets in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and beyond. And Eurostar's parent company's ownership of the channel tunnel gives the company a chokehold on the UK market, as it has established a £25 per passenger tariff on competing trains traversing the Chunnel. No doubt that was one of the factors that helped DB decide not to pursue routes to London from Germany.

All in all, I enjoyed my Eurostar trip. Hopefully next time, I will let go of my awe long enough to explore the train more thoroughly. As a side note, travel on Eurostar is just like any other European high speed train I have explored in that a little advance planning goes a long way toward saving money. We bought our tickets to London only a few days before we traveled, and paid dearly. I have looked at pricing since, and found that like SNCF, Eurostar tickets are much less expensive the farther in advance that you purchase them, and upgrades to first class are similarly more affordable. Another thing to file away for next time...

Thanks for reading!


Date: 02/22/20 08:43
Re: Eurostar Siemens Velaro e320 inside and out
Author: King_Coal

Enjoy your photos and observations. Looking at the newer trains, wonder what the operator can see out of the control compartment? Not much of a window there. Those passenger seats have come a long way from the old Heywood-Wakefield "Sleepy Hollow" seats featured in U.S. postwar trains.

Date: 02/22/20 13:11
Re: Eurostar Siemens Velaro e320 inside and out
Author: F7sForever

I haven't been in the cab of anything in Europe, but I have seen some in-cab video (there's plenty on YouTube) that makes it seem like there's reasonable forward visibility. And let's be honest - at 200mph, near-field visibility isn't doing you a whole lot of good. As for those seats, I am sure their comfort is enhanced by the fact that you don't spend that much time in them. Paris to London was just a hair over two hours. It was over before I realized it had started.

Date: 02/22/20 17:45
Re: Eurostar Siemens Velaro e320 inside and out
Author: gaspeamtrak

You have even made want go over there even more now ! maybe in a year or two...
Thank you for sharing!!! :):):)

Date: 02/22/20 23:01
Re: Eurostar Siemens Velaro e320 inside and out
Author: railsmith

King_Coal Wrote:
> Looking at the
> newer trains, wonder what the operator can see out
> of the control compartment? Not much of a window
> there.

Here's an interior view of a cab in a Class 395 "Javelin" unit. These were built by Hitachi for domestic service on the High Speed 1 line in Britain, which is also used by the international Eurostar service through the Channel Tunnel. The 395s have a maximum service speed of 140 mph.

The photo was taken at London St. Pancras station. A Class 373 Eurostar set can be glimpsed at right, in the international section of the station.


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/20 01:18 by railsmith.

Date: 03/06/20 14:56
Re: Eurostar Siemens Velaro e320 inside and out
Author: Steinzeit2

King_Coal Wrote:
> Enjoy your photos and observations. .........
.......Those passenger seats have come a long way
> from the old Heywood-Wakefield "Sleepy Hollow"
> seats featured in U.S. postwar trains.

I too am enjoying these posts, and appreciate the effort you put into making them.   Interestingly, there is a connection between the SNCF TGV and Sleepy Hollow seats;  here's a condensed version:

In 1950 SNCF equipped two coaches with those seats, a 1st with 13 rows of 2+2 seating, and a 2nd -- this is when there were still three classes of course -- with 16 rows;  they were trialed on longer runs of both day and night trains.  The 2+2 arrangement is interesting since, say, Pullman cars of that epoch were 1+1 and 2+1 respectively.
In 1955-57 there appeared a small fleet of similar vehicles:  the eighteen 1st class cars had 14 rows of Sleepy Hollow seats, which were license built by Carel et Fouche', while the twelve 2nd class cars -- in the now two class system  -- had seats of French design of somewhat less comfort.

In service it was found that, generally speaking, the 2nd class passengers [ in the case of SNCF of that era I don't feel it necessary to say "passengers travelling second class"...] liked the cars, while 1st class travellers preferred compartments.  SNCF also felt that, especially for long journeys sans air conditioning, opening windows was not feasible.  However, what really traumatized SNCF was the reversibility of the seats:  They would need to be turned at each journey end, plus at any intermediate stations where the train reversed direction.  There was also the alarming possibility that enterprising passengers might reverse the seats themselves.  So except for special cases SNCF pretty much steered away from the open coach configuration for longer distance stock for many years, and when it did appear, first in the USI, then Corail, and finally the TGV, it was fixed half facing front, half facing rear.

With best regards,


Edited to add:  I see that back on 1/19/12 I posted a photo of one of the second class cars in its subsequent third life as a bar car, together with some of the info posted above.  Interestingly, the photo was taken at Montparnasse well before TGV days.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/06/20 16:26 by Steinzeit2.

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