As Eurostar prepares to launch its new fleet, entering service before the end of the year, one of its first generation trains is unveiled in the Great Hall of the National Railway Museum in York, accompanied by a fascinating display that explores how Eurostar has transformed European travel.
The power car is a permanent addition to the National Collection, and will bring to life a new chapter of contemporary railway history for the hundreds of thousands of visitors that pass through its doors each year. It assumes its well-deserved place in the museum having been donated by Eurostar.
The museum has developed an interesting and engaging display to accompany its latest acquisition. Visitors will learn how the innovative service revolutionised European high-speed rail travel between the UK and the continent. A marvel of modern engineering, the power car has average operating speeds of 186 mph (300 kph), and is part of the same series as the train that holds the current UK rail speed record of over 208mph (334.7kph).
The Eurostar Class 373 trains were designed to transport passengers between London, Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel, and started operating on 14 November 1994. Since then Eurostar has revolutionised travel between the UK and mainland Europe, carrying a total of over 150 million passengers, with numbers growing to over 10 million a year. Eurostar trains are capable of travelling from London to Paris in a mere two hours, 15 minutes and from London to Brussels in two hours.
Jane Sparkes, Interpretation Developer, National Railway Museum, said:
"The acquisition of one of Eurostar's iconic power cars is hugely exciting for the National Railway Museum. We're delighted to see it displayed alongside the other high speed record breakers and history makers in our Great Hall. I'm sure visitors will enjoy learning more about Eurostar's crucial role in modern railway history."
Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive Officer, Eurostar said:
"Our new fleet of trains will start to enter service by the end of the year, allowing us to take more passengers further into Europe than ever before. The combination of state-of-the-art design, unparalleled comfort and environmental efficiency of our new fleet means that we are well placed to serve the growing demand as passengers increasingly opt for high speed rail over plane.
The donation of one of our first generation power cars is a chance to acknowledge the historic role our service has played in connecting the UK and mainland Europe. Eurostar is a true example of collaboration between national railways and the rail industry, providing inspiration for other global high-speed rail projects."
About the National Railway Museum
The National Railway Museum in York and Shildon is home to the UK's national rail collection. Includes museum visitor info, events, exhibitions and collections.
Today the NRM is one of Britain’s busiest museums and is perhaps the most popular railway museum in the world. It serves a diverse audience at its two sites and elsewhere through its network of partnerships with museums and heritage railways across the UK. As part of its plan to retain its popularity plans are being developed for new displays which will help a 21st century audience discover the huge impact the railway has had in the shaping of the modern world.