After the commissioning of a more powerful power supply, tunnel operator Getlink announced on Wednesday that up to 1 000 trains a day will eventually be able to use the Channel Tunnel.
Previously, six trains could travel through the tunnel simultaneously in each direction. This could rise to eight in the future, including a new generation of high-speed trains, following a €45 million investment in modernizing the power supply. The project took General Electric five years of research.
According to Eurostar, the only operator of express trains through the tunnel, the new technology would make it possible to increase the annual number of passengers by 2030 to 30 million. In 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, it transported 19 million people.
The tunnel’s capacity will be further increased with the installation of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), which will make it easier for Eurostar’s competitors to also send trains under the English Channel.
Getlink already had the intention to attract more rail operators to the tunnel. The technical upgrade of the route could also give new impetus to a high-speed connection from London to Germany. Spanish state railway Renfe has its own plans to run trains to London.
Renfe earlier announced its intentions to operate its own product and to use at least seven trains. In a second phase, its service could be expanded to more new French and other international destinations. However, the company did not reveal a timeframe for the start of the new service.
Eurostar, which recently merged with Thalys, the operator of high-speed trains from Paris to Brussels, Cologne, and Amsterdam, may be interested in setting up such a connection. The Eurostar-Thalys merger aims at 30 million passengers a year.
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