Eurostar debuts e320 on London-Paris route

Eurostar’s first new Siemens train entered passenger service today.

The Siemens Velaro e320 trainset operated the 1024 service from London St Pancras to Paris Nord. It is understood that it will return to London later this afternoon working the 1613 from Paris Nord.

The journey marked the first time that the e320 has carried fare-paying passengers.

Eurostar e320

e320 carriage exterior

It was also the first time that a train with what is termed “distributed power” operated a commercial service through the Channel Tunnel.

Eurostar has not yet released details of which train services the Siemens Velaro will operate. It is believed that this trainset will operate different times between London, Paris and Brussels in the coming weeks.

The new German-built trains are replacing some of Eurostar’s current fleet, which has operated for more than 20 years.

Each e320 has interiors and external livery designed by Italian firm Pininfarina. Like the current stock, it is capable of speeds up to 200mph (320kph)

e320 business class

Business Premier: The seats recline twice as much as those in Standard

Standard class carriage

Standard class carriage

However, the train can carry 894 passengers, boosting capacity by 20 per cent.

Free wifi is available throughout, in Standard, Standard Premier and Business Premier classes.

Standard class coaches come with ergonomically-designed reclining seats, both UK and continental plug sockets, and moveable coat hooks that are fixed to the top of the window frame.

Each row of seats is alternately grey and cobalt blue, while the carpeted floor is dark grey.

Alex McWhirter

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  • This e320 train has been in service for some time, so entered service before Friday 20th. I travelled on it on the 0701 to Paris on Thursday 12th November – and some of my colleagues had reported travelling on it before that.

    The first class seats, power availability, and lighting were a big improvement on the old version – but I the free wifi didn’t appear to have been switched on.

  • Hello MrWibby –

    Thank you for your comments. But I wonder if you are referring to the refurbished e300 trainset which entered service in early September?

    We pride ourselves on our accuracy. To the best of our knowledge the new Siements e320 trainset made its first commercial run on Friday November 20, as we reported above.

    This German-built e320 trainset has distributed power unlike the original French e300 trainsets which operate conventionally, i.e. they have a power car both front and back.

    According to reports, the Channel Tunnel IGC (Intergovernmental Commission) only granted approval for the e320 trainset to operate commercially through the Tunnel the previous day, that is November 19.

    Note that the e320 trainset is currently being “fine tuned” for passengers. Formal service will not start until around mid-December.

    It means the wi-fi, both on the new Siemens e320 and the single Alstom e300 retrofitted train, has not yet been activated.

  • These new trains are awful. This is a backwards step in the name of ‘progress.’ First of all, despite what it says above, there is zero WiFi in these carriages – even in first class. I took a bunch of work I was not able to do as there is no WiFi. They do not tell you this when you book.

    Moreover, sitting in one if these trains for 2.5 hours is migraine inducing. There is disgusting white flourescent lighting. You feel more like you are in a supermarket than in a luxury train. The old carriages had lovely soft lighting making for a cosy and comfortable ambience, in the new ones you feel like one is about to undergo an interrogation!!! Truly awful. What were they thinking?

    Lastly the seats are much thinner ‘to allow for 20% more capacity’ apparently but again this helps Eurostar and not the passenger. New seats are really uncomfortable.

    So with glary lighting, no WiFi and uncomfortable seating, how is this progress?

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