New Trains. Night Trains. No Trains.
Comes now Eurostar announcing that they’re ordering a whole new fleet of trainsets which will go into service at the end of next year. The new equipment will run at sustained speeds of 320 km/hr (200 mph) which is almost 20 mph faster than trains they’re now operating. The design work, inside and out, was done by Pininfarina, an Italian firm with a big reputation earned for their design work on high-end automobiles. The new equipment will allow Eurostar to expand service to a number of French cities including several in the south of France. (And, by the way, can you believe it’s been 20 years since the Chunnel was opened?)
In the meantime, here in the U.S. of A, Amtrak has filed a complaint with the Surface Transportation Board because the on-time performance of the Capitol Limited … uh … Oh, never mind. It’s too depressing.
I’ve written about this before, but there are new reports from Europe about more of the so-called “night trains” perhaps being phased out. There are plenty of trains operating at night, of course, but this term refers to trains configured with berths for people to actually sleep in. These trains also — typically and traditionally — have had restaurant cars. Clearly, they’re more expensive to operate and that is certainly a big factor in the considerations. But it does seem to me — a focus group of one — that there are still a lot of people who would be willing to pay, and pay well, for this kind of service. I certainly am.