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ICE premiere in London

10/20/2010 AT 07:00

“This historic train journey will bring Germany and the UK closer together in the future. We have now reached the first milestone on the road to a regular direct ICE connection from 2013” confirmed Dr. Grube. “By making full use of the opportunities afforded by the liberalisation of the European rail transport market we are able to offer our customers genuine alternatives to air travel.”

UK Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said: “It is great news that passengers can look forward to reaching new European destinations in an easier, greener way from 2013. For many people high speed rail is a more convenient alternative to air or road - allowing them to hop on board in the city centre and catch up on some work along the way. I am sure these new continental services will prove popular with business travellers and tourists alike. They would also act as a welcome addition to the Government's plans for a high speed rail network at home.”

Dr. Peter Ramsauer said: “The planned ICE service between Frankfurt, Cologne and London would be a tremendous step forward for European train services. The economic development of these three major cities would benefit enormously. With its introduction, business people and tourists alike would get an extremely attractive and climate-friendly service between the Main, the Rhine and the River Thames.”

Paul Chapman, managing director of High Speed 1, said: “High Speed 1 welcomes Deutsche Bahn to St Pancras International. This is not only a hugely important development for high speed rail travel in the UK but fabulous news for our growing numbers of passengers.”

At the weekend evacuation exercises were carried out on the ICE in the Channel Tunnel in cooperation with the infrastructure operator Eurotunnel and under the supervision of the safety authorities, thus starting an important safety process three years before service commencement. Further approval measures will be carried out in the coming months. Regular ICE services are planned for the new timetable beginning in 2013. This will incorporate three return train journeys (outward and return) between Frankfurt and London via Cologne, Brussels and Lille. This will include connections from Amsterdam via Rotterdam to London. The journey time from Cologne to London should take less than four hours and from Frankfurt to London just over five hours. Journeys from Amsterdam to London should be possible in under four hours.

“With the ICE 3 (class 407) we will be using the most advanced high-speed trains in Europe along this route, which will meet the highest standards of safety, passenger comfort and efficiency,” confirmed Ulrich Homburg, Member of the DB Management Board for Passenger Transport.

Deutsche Bahn has ordered 15 of these high-speed trains with a top speed of 320 kph from Siemens for a total of €500 million. The first trains will be delivered in 2011, with the final trains expected to be with DB by summer 2012. Subsequently these trains will undergo authorisation tests. Deutsche Bahn already offers ICE connections in six European countries in cooperation with European partner rail companies: Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark. Some 80 cities can be reached directly from Germany. The 220 services (70 per cent of which involve ICE or other high-speed trains) are used by over 40,000 passengers a day.

When the new timetable takes effect in December 2010 the service between Frankfurt and Brussels will include a further ICE return train journey, increasing the number of outward and return journeys to four each day. In cooperation with the SNCF, direct connections from Frankfurt to Marseilles via Strasbourg, Mulhouse and Lyon are planned for December 2011.

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