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