The Euro Star International Ltd.. based in London, is the operator of the Euro Star trains on the high-speed connections from London through the Euro tunnel over Lille to Paris or Brussels. Are referred to as Euro Star both the operating company and the transport links offered as well as the rail vehicles with which such services are provided.

  • 2.1 Three Capitals
  • 2.2 North of London
  • 2.3 Night Star
  • 2.4 Euro Star 320
  • 3.1 routes
  • 3.2 Special features on the approach as a passenger
  • 3.3 Development of passenger numbers
  • 3.4 Rail Team
  • 3.5 Future Development

Operating company

The company was founded on 1 September 2010 from the merger of the former national French, British and Belgian train operating companies. The share capital is held 55% by the SNCF, 40% of LCR ( British government operators) and 5% of the Belgian NMBS / SNCB.


Euro Star began as a joint project of the French railway company SNCF, the Belgian railway company SNCB and the then British railway company British Rail (BR ) for the operation of trains through the Euro tunnel under the English Channel. In the run-up to rail privatization in Britain BR created the European Passenger Services ( EPS), in which they earned their Euro Star participation. In June 1996 EPS to London & Continental Railways (LCR ) has been sold, the second in October changed the name of EPS in EUR Star UK Ltd ( EUKL ). London & Continental Railways was commissioned in addition to the operation of the Euro Stars also with the construction of the high speed line from London to Dover (High Speed ​​One ); by massive financial problems, in 1998 government support measures; as a result rendered LCR over the operation of EUKL at Inter Capital and Regional Rail ( ICRR ) by the year 2010. On ICRR were the British bus and rail company National Express Group holds a 40 % stake, the SNCF with 35 %, the SNCB 15 % and the airline British Airways as a silent partner with 10 %.

In September 1999, the Euro Star Group was formed, which was under a single management solely responsible for the common strategy for business development, marketing; each of the three part -do railway companies was responsible for the operational management of the trains in their field. The trains remained the property of the respective railway company, but were operated in the pool.

In June 2009, the British government took over LCR finally complete. EUKL was subsequently renamed Euro Star International and in September 2010 brought the respective French and Belgian railway companies their respective activities in the new Euro Star Euro Star International one. Thus, the entire rolling stock came into the hands of the now unified operator.

Possible sale of a share

Soon after the opening of the railway line High Speed ​​1 in November 2006, the British government announced its share of the operator and the infrastructure want to sell. The German Railway had in 2008 for their potential interest in purchasing EUKL expressed what was, however, firmly rejected by the President of SNCF Guilleaume Pépy. In December 2013, the British government reiterated its intention to sell later than 2020Vorlage: Future / In 5 years of its 40 % stake in the now united operators.

The times shown indicate the shortest scheduled Travel times without intermediate stops from London St Pancras to.

The trains were developed by Alstom on the basis of the TGV Atlantique and could initially use both power rails and overhead lines, which in the latter case, different voltages are possible (25 kV, 50 Hz AC and 3 kV and in some trains also 1.5 kV DC). Height and width of the trains had to the smaller gauge on the UK routes to be adjusted, so the Euro Star is a maximum of 2.80 meters wide (compared to a Thalys measures 2.90 m in width). Moreover, had the special safety requirements for the transport through the Channel Tunnel be taken into account, the " Treaty of Canterbury " had been established in 1986 in the, including special fire protection equipment such as fire doors between each car. The trains are fitted with the command and signaling systems of the three countries busy: AWS and TPWS for the UK, KVB, TVM and Crocodile for France and TBL and also Crocodile for Belgium.

The trains consist - as the French TGV - from one power car at each end of the train, but with 18 or 14 trailers, and can operate in both directions. The trains with 18 cars are also called "Three Capitals " ( Three Capitals ), the shorter "North of London " ( NoL - North of London). The intermediate cars are connected to each nine and seven bogies with Jacob; this Gliederzugteile are connected in the middle of the train with each other and with the power cars with automatic couplers, so that they can be separated in operation easily. If there is damage in an engine head of the train should be able to be divided or separated from the defective drive head and pulled out of the tunnel from the engine head at the other end. In the "Three Capitals " of 18 cars which is in each case the power head driven next bogie. The "Three Capitals " are 394 meters long, weighing 815 tons and have 794 seats, the "North of London " are 319 meters long, weighing a total of 665 tons, and offer 578 seats.

Three Capitals

Of the 27 "Three Capitals " units that should be used between London, Paris and Brussels, are twelve owned by the SNCF, eleven belong Euro Star UK and four of the SNCB. Prior to the commencement of the Euro Star operation, the SNCF had classified the vehicle as insufficient reserves and therefore procured four additional trains outside the vehicle pools on their own account. The total of 31 sets were supplied by Alstom and are guided in the British series register as Class 373/1. The 22/2 trains "Three Capitals " with the numbers 3001-3022 are € Star UK ( EUKL ), the eight half-moves 3101-3108 SNCB / NMBS, the 32 half-moves 3201-3232 SNCF.

After traffic forecasts to transport 14 to 16 million passengers in the first three years of operation, proved to be too high had (at the end of the 1990s: eight million passengers), were searched for new tasks for the extra trainsets. For the operating program 1999, only 21 of the 31 long and 7 short trains were needed there. The SNCF trains equipped then nine to four-system trains to order to go in the season in the electrified with 1,500 V DC to the south of France in the French Alps can.

After the 31 units in the late 1990s with ten pairs of trains per day were used, the SNCF took three trainsets and equipped them on for operation under 1.5 kV DC. They associated from mid-1999 between Brussels and Nice, without operation of Paris. When using the overhead line, the trains reach speeds of 300 km / h - on a test drive a speed record for Britain was in July 2003 on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link with 334.7 km / h even posted.

On April 21, 2008, a Euro star with a cruising speed of 198.6 km / h ( 123.4 miles per hour ) to a new British record. He mastered the 90.19 km ( 56.04 miles ) long route from Ashford to London in 27 minutes and 15 seconds.

North of London

The 14/2 trains "North of London " are listed as Class 373/2 and formed from a power head and nine and seven intermediate cars. They belong Euro Star UK and are numbered 3301-3314. You were procured for traffic north of London, but came there never used because the safety requirements ( separated station areas, security checks ) to equip the corresponding stations were too high. Economic considerations and increasing competition with the air traffic were cited against such traffic. The seven trains were initially parked Pole depot in West London in the North.

First came the four trains ( two for the operation and two in Euro Star colors in reserve) for the summer timetable 2000 for use as the Great North Eastern Railway ( GNER ) with them goal for their offer between London and Edinburgh. Three trains were used between 2001 and 2005 on the East Coast Main Line ( ECML ) of the GNER White Rose as between London King's Cross and Leeds. The rest of the trains arrived on the relatively underutilized relation Brussels - London used. The ejected long trains were temporarily used to expand the number of seats offered on the LGV Sud -Est, before new TGV Duplex sets were available. The trains were returned at the end of 2005 Euro Star.

Six trains are currently used by the SNCF for domestic traffic between Gare du Nord (Paris) and the Lille -Flandres used. One of these features was used to test for the High Speed ​​One route. Also for VIP trips, for example, the British Queen, one of the " NoL " Euro Stars was used.

Night Star

For sleeper trains named Nightstar between the island and the continent respective cars were built, which, however, never been used. From locomotives solid sleeper trains with 16 cars - 10 sleeping cars, four seat car, and two service and dining car - should Glasgow, London, Manchester, Plymouth and Swansea join in the UK with Amsterdam, Dortmund and Frankfurt on the continent. 139 cars were ordered; 1992 to 1997, when the project was put on hold 45 cars were completed, 32 partially. 1999, the plan was finally abandoned. The built by Alstom vehicles, which were parked in two British military areas (as of July 2000), was in 2001 at VIA Rail a Canadian railway companies to be sold.

Euro Star 320

In October 2010, Euro Star announced its intent to purchase ten multiple units of the type Euro Star 320. Despite a pending action of the competing bidder Alstom against the tender or contract December the contract was signed in 2010.



The Euro Star trains pass under on their journey from England to France through the English Channel in 1994 completed Euro tunnel and run since 2007 almost exclusively on high-speed lines. In addition to the stations Bruxelles Midi and Gare du Nord (Paris) and the Marne la Vallée Chessy - station ( Disneyland Resort Paris) once a day once a week approached and seasonal Avignon in the south of France or Bourg -Saint -Maurice in the French Alps.

Within England hold some of the trains on the way to the Channel Tunnel still in the station, Ebbsfleet International, and / or at Ashford International Station and after passing through the tunnel at the earliest again in Lille, France or station Calais - Fréthun.

Since September 2003, the first section could be used for high speeds ( Channel Tunnel Rail Link ) in England. On 14 November 2007 the second part of the renamed High Speed ​​1 in November 2006 high-speed line was put into operation and moved the endpoint from Waterloo station in the renovated St Pancras Station. With the commissioning of new lines section of the revenues of Euro Star rose within six weeks by 20 percent; the train reached between London and Paris, according to Euro Star of 2008 a market share of around 70 percent. In the business travel market, the market share between the two cities was reported to be 86 percent.

Then the new station, Ebbsfleet International, in the western Kent was put into operation on 19 November 2007. The company Euro Star linked the opening of the new station Ebbsfleet with the support of the football club Ebbsfleet United. The end of 2009, the new station Stratford International in east London, was opened. This is not operated by Euro Star, despite political pressure, since the additional stop 9 km before the terminal St Pancras would mean too high a loss of time.

On 16 May 2006 put a special train with the train set 3209 and 3210 back to 1421 km long road from London to Cannes in 445 minutes. The journey should take the longest international non-stop ride with electric drive in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The former London Bahnbetriebswerk North Pole depot in West London was replaced north of the station Stratford International by the new Temple Mills Depot in November 2007.

Special features on the approach as a passenger

The Euro Star uses a separate, separate from the rest of the rail terminal. To get on board the trains are (analogous to air traffic) required check-in and passport and security checks. Passengers must have gathered to check-in later than 30 minutes before the scheduled departure of the Euro Star at the check -in desk in the Euro Star terminal and log in there with her ticket for clearance. After check -in time is when you started on the continent passport controls. Since only limited in the Schengen Agreement the UK participates and has kept its border control, are controlled before boarding the Euro Star both of border checks on exit country as well as from the British border control respectively the passports of traveling to the UK passengers. After passport control is further conducted a security check of the passenger and the baggage carried by him. Have completed the passport and security checks successfully, the check-in and leads the other way before the first entry in a waiting room. Only when was released for entry by the staff at the terminal of the Euro star whose car like that of an ordinary passenger train can be accessed from the platform. When traveling within the Schengen area ( for example, from Brussels South to Lille -Europe), the passengers did not have to identify before the British border control, which was often used by illegal immigrants without a valid entry clearance as a loophole. Since December 2014 travelers from Brussels to Lille or Calais are therefore handled in a separate area and transported in a separate car.

Growth in passenger numbers

Passenger numbers fell short of expectations. In 1996, 21.4 million passengers said LCR for 2004 forward. In fact, there were then only 7.27 million. The following table gives an overview of the development of passenger numbers ( in millions):

With regard to the distribution of the transportation service between the rail and air transport are now using 81 percent of travelers in the rail and air transport between Paris and London, the Euro Star trains (as of 2008). In the business travel market, the market share between the two cities is 86 percent indicated (as of 2012).

Previously, the market share of the trains, in comparison with the air traffic in 2000 between London and Paris at 63.4 %, between London and Brussels at 46 %. He got to the end of 2004 between Paris and London to 68 per cent, between Brussels and London to 63 per cent. A significant increase occurred in 2008, when the travel time was shortened to 20 minutes with the commissioning of the new line train service to London St Pancras.

The average utilization of the trains in 2011 was around 70 percent.

Rail Team

The Euro Star Group is a founding member of the company founded on 2 July 2007 Rail Team, a coalition of initially seven European railway companies to strengthen the international high-speed traffic on rails to form a counterweight to comparable concentrations of air carriers. This may include the travelers who have a Euro Star frequent traveler status, use all the lounges of partner railways, and vice versa all frequent drivers of the three partner railways Euro Star Lounge in Brussels, Paris and London.

Future Development

An extension to other destinations on the continent so far failed due to technical and political factors that made an operating beyond Paris and Brussels uneconomical. First, the existing Euro Star trains for operation in the UK, France and Belgium are set up, but the installation of other train control systems would fail because of lack of space. The preparation for operation below 15 kilovolts at 16.7 Hertz, as usual in the railway network of the German-speaking countries would be tantamount to a redesign.

In addition, the Network Statement of Euro Tunnel demanded so far is that the trains must be at least 375 meters long and consistently for the passengers to be so that when an emergency stop in the tunnel and all the passengers can get off by a door from the train to one of the emergency exits, for every 375 meters service tunnels lead. On the other hand, is required in the contract about the British and French concession that - " unless otherwise provided " - all trains must have a locomotive front and rear, so that they could draw each part of the train from the tunnel.

With the expected commissioning of the based on the Siemens Velaro platform new Euro Star 320 trains 2016Vorlage: Future / In 2 years these technical obstacles would be removed. For this reason, the Euro Star Group has already announced plans to 2017Vorlage: Future In 3 years expand / the power and future alongside Lyon and Marseille ( FR) and Cologne ( Germany), Amsterdam ( NL ) and Geneva ( CH) want to hit. The German railway two coupled together (and thus not consistently walk ) new ICE 3 trains also plans to compete with Euro Star, between Frankfurt and London, and between Amsterdam and London use - it involves the Euro Star 320 similarly constructed lines of development of the Velaro.


  • End of May 2000 lost a Euro Star train when entering the Euro tunnel a bogie.
  • On the evening of 5 June 2000, the occupied around 240 travelers Euro Star train set 3101/3102 derailed at around 240 km / h at Arras. 13 people, mostly crew members were injured.
  • In the night of 18 to 19 April 2008, the front with about 640 passengers Euro Star 9054 remained about 100 km from Paris are removed. After a chain of technical and organizational problems, the train reached the destination station Paris Nord with a delay of almost ten hours.
  • On 19 December 2009, a weather-related mishap occurred at Euro Star. Several trains were stopped in the tunnel under the English Channel, as their technique of condensation not coped with by melting snow penetrated. More than 2,000 travelers were stranded for hours.
  • On January 7, 2010 remained after heavy snowfall in France and Great Britain once again a train stuck in the tunnel. He was dragged with 240 passengers on board a locomotive in the Ashford station. Euro Star then blocked the tunnel for further passages.