It seems a long time since Deutsche Bahn announced they would be bringing their trains to St Pancras to compete with Eurostar. The original plan was for the service to start in time for the Olympics. Then that slipped to late 2013 and now it is “2016 at the earliest”. It sounds rather like the new Berlin airport all over again.
Siemens is having serious problems adapting the new series of ICE trains to fit the standards required for the tunnel and to allow them to run on all the networks needed. Reading between the lines, it looks as if the issues involved could be too costly and difficult to bother with so it is tempting to read “2016 at the earliest” as “some time, never”.
Most of these problems could have been foreseen – it is not as if the safety rules for operating trains in the tunnel have been changed. The affair does not reflect well on either Siemens or Deutsche Bahn.
This long delay is seriously bad news. We have long said that Eurostar is in desperate need of competition and the longer it continues without any competitor, the more complacency is likely to step in.