Eurostar”s first train has left Paris Gare du Nord en route to the refurbished London St Pancras International terminal for a noon, arrival as testing begins on the new high speed link today (4 September).
The much-anticipated run should see a Eurostar train make the 306mi (492km) journey in 2h15min, slicing 20min off the current time.
If all goes to plan, the train should attain speeds of up to 186mph, travelling the full length of High Speed 1 ” the UK”s first such line that runs for 68mi from the Channel Tunnel near Folkestone to St Pancras International .
Today”s train is due to travel at speeds of up to 186mph in the UK ” 50% faster than the current quickest services ” although the speed will be modified slightly through tunnels.
High Speed 1 also passes through Ashford International and Eurostar”s new station at Ebbsfleet International in Kent, before crossing under the River Thames and into the capital using tunnels in east London.
”Today marks Britain”s entry into the European high-speed rail club,” said Eurostar chief executive, Richard Brown, adding: ”We can now run trains at high speed all the way from the Channel Tunnel to London.
”St Pancras has numerous rail connections to towns and cities north and south of the capital, while Ebbsfleet is conveniently located for 10m people across southern England.”
Revenue services will begin on 14 November this year, allowing passengers to reach Paris and Brussels before 09:00 for the first time, while leisure customers will have later evening departures.