Eurostar announced a little more than a week ago that is was planning to invest £700 million ($1.114 billion) in its rolling stock and that the company would have some of the greenest trains in the world by 2014 as a result.
Siemens, based in Germany, is the company Eurostar said would be awarded the contract to manufacture the new, energy-efficient electric trains. The e3202 high-speed trains Eurostar would be provided with are:
“an updated version of Siemens’ Velaro, the fastest high-speed train in the world, which over a distance of 100km consumes 0.33 litres of petrol equivalent per seat – about the same as a can of cola – and produces at least three times less CO2 per person-kilometre than a standard passenger flight.”
The e3202 trains are expected to go up to 320 kph (200 mph), making it possible for up to 900 passengers to go from London to Paris in a little over two hours.
Sounds great, right? Not according to the transport minister of France.
French Transport Minister Says Siemens Trains Not Safe
While the trains above might sound great to us, the French Minister of Transport, Dominique Bussereau, has a different opinion, claiming these high-speed trains will not meet safety standards.
“The French transport minister has attacked the safety credentials of Eurostar’s new green high-speed trains in an extraordinary outburst on live television,” Business Green reports.
France Bitter Alstom Trains Weren’t Chosen by Eurostar?
The problem might come from the fact that French engineering company Alstom was not selected to provide Eurostar with the trains. Up until this point, Alstom has manufactured all of the trains running through the channel tunnel.
“The decision Eurostar took is null and void,” Bussereau said. “We have told the management of Eurotunnel and Eurostar that material other than Alstom material cannot be used.”
Bussereau said the Siemens trains were not long enough to safely evacuate the tunnel in a fire.
The Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission and Eurostar disagree.
Eurostar says that it intends to “proceed as planned” and Siemens has not commented on this issue.
Photo Credit: victoriapeckham via flickr under a CC license