THE number of international services operated by Eurostar is to be reduced by 8%, with a subsequent reduction of 80 jobs. As a result, a number of the Class 373 ‘Three Capitals’ trainsets built by Alstom and introduced in 1992 are to be scrapped.
The measures are a response to falling passenger numbers and income that fell by 10% in the second quarter of 2016. Another factor is the introduction from late 2015 of the Class 374 Siemens-built Velaro e320 trainsets, which have a greater number of seats than the earlier Class 373 formations. The comparison is 206 First and 544 Standard for the original trains, and 222 Business Premier (the term First is not used) and 672 Standard in the e320s – a net gain of
There are other benefits too, with the Class 374 trains being capable of operating at 200mph rather than 186mph. It has also been suggested that the older units are expensive to maintain, given the design of their electrical equipment to run using both 25kV AC overhead and 750V DC third-rail current collection. At the time of writing, 11 out of 17 new sets ordered are in service, and these will also be used on the additional route between St Pancras and Amsterdam from 2017.
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