DB Schenker has opened the UK to the operation of regular European sized freight trains on High Speed 1, which links the Channel Tunnel with London. Alain Thauvette, chief executive of DB Schenker Rail, said: “This enables significant growth in cross channel rail freight to occur.”
The move could result in 15 freight trains a week travelling across Europe to London.
The work to introduce rail freight services onto High Speed 1 has seen extensive testing take place over a five month period. The result is that the larger and higher freight trains that operate across Europe can now be utilised on HS1 from the Channel Tunnel to London, which is the only European sized rail route in the UK
The event was market by the naming of a locomotive at DB Schenker Rail’s Channel Tunnel depot at Dollands Moor near Folkestone. Brian Simpson MEP, chair of the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee officially named the locomotive “Marco Polo”.
Thauvette said: “We expect to introduce the first of a number of regular services with larger European containers this autumn onto High Speed 1. With the potential of 15 of freight trains a week travelling across Europe to east London, this will help alleviate congestion on the M20 and M25 motorways as goods are moved from road to rail.”
The work to introduce rail freight services onto High Speed 1 has been supported by the European Commission’s Marco Polo programme. “Europe needs goods to move quickly and seamlessly across countries to get to markets, and reliable pan-European rail freight services are a key component to achieving that.,” said Simpson.