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September 01, 2010

Date set for Channel Tunnel ICE test

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THE FIRST appearance of a German Rail (DB) high-speed train in London will take place on October 19, according to CEO Dr Rüdiger Grube, who confirmed today that an ICE will run through the Channel Tunnel next month.

DB has a long-stated ambition to launch services between Germany and London St Pancras, but it must first meet the stringent standards for passenger operation in the tunnel. The current requirements demand a minimum train length of 375m and the capability to divide the train in half in an emergency. However, a recent review by the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) suggested the rules should be amended to allow the operation of standard-length trains that meet European Technical Specification for Interoperability (TSI) fire safety standards, without the splitting capability.

The IGC says the requirement for 375m-long trains must remain, although 200m-long trains such as ICEs could be approved if an appropriate evacuation procedure can be agreed.

The multi-system Class 407 Velaro-D unveiled by DB and Siemens earlier this year features additional fire safety measures. Fifteen of these 200m-long trains will be introduced on international services from December 2011.
London-bound? DB's latest-generation ICE features enhanced fire safety measures. Photo: Keith Fender

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