Sunday 24 January 2016

Class 374 First Pics

On my way back down to Kent last Monday I distracted myself by taking a few pics. I've been taking pics of trains for as long as I can remember and I still don't know why they are so photogenic!

Highlight of the day was undoubtedly walking onto the platform at St Pancras International and realising the Eurostar next to the Southeastern platforms looked a little different.

The new Eurostar coach
It was one of the new Class 374 Siemens e320 units, purchased by Eurostar to operate away from the traditional Paris/Brussels destinations, with Holland and Germany key targets. Indeed it is planned to start a service to Amterdam service in December this year, for which the 374's will be used, as their traction can adapt for German and Dutch voltage. The units still haven't been officially launched, but are being used on services for testing and evaluation.

Power unit (37)4018
Named the e320 - e represents Eurostar and 320 the aim to operate them at 320kph (200mph) the trains are variants of Siemens Velaro, which in turn was developed from the ICE 3 frst used by Deutsche Bahn in 2000. The French objected to a German company being selected to build the trains, believing Alstom should have been chosen instead, but the Courts backed the original decision.

The imposing front of the new class 374
The arrival of the 374's does not mean the end of the original Eurostar units - the 373's. It just signifies Eurostar's intention on expanding the International High Speed network, particulary as Deutsche Bahn are intending to run their own services through the Channel Tunnel, subject to an operator licence being granted.

The old and the new together at St Pancras - note the repainted 373 on adjacent platform
I guess this means I'll have to brave the elements at Medway Bridge again and catch one of these newbies in motion. Let's see what the weather does this week. To fnish wth, however, some rather slower old plodders spotted at Ipswich earlier that morning, a couple of Class 86 locos.

86632 and 86627 together at Ipswich, with a Class 90 behind.

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