British Rail Class 374

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British Rail Class 374 Eurostar e320
Velaro UK
Eurostar e320 at Kensington Gardens 105.jpg
Manufacturer Siemens
Family name Velaro
Constructed 2011–2015
Number built 10 trainsets
Formation 16 cars
Capacity 900 seats
Operator Eurostar
Car body construction Aluminium
Maximum speed 320 km/h (200 mph)
Power output 16 MW (21,000 hp)
Electric system(s) 25 kV 50 Hz AC
15 kV 16.7 Hz AC
3000 V DC
1500 V DC
Overhead lines
Current collection method Pantograph
UIC classification Bo′Bo′+2′2′+Bo′Bo′+2′2′ +2′2′+Bo′Bo′+2′2′+Bo′Bo′+Bo′Bo′+2′2′+Bo′Bo′+2′2′ +2′2′+Bo′Bo′+2′2′+Bo′Bo′
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Class 374[1] or Eurostar e320 electric multiple unit high speed trains are for services through the Channel Tunnel. There will be ten sets, 400-metre-long versions of the Siemens Velaro, of 16 carriages, to serve destinations beyond the core routes to Paris and Brussels. The carriages are numbered in half-sets as 93 70 3740 NNN-N GB-EIL, where 93 denotes high-speed EMU, 70 denotes Great Britain, 374 is the class, 40NN is the unit number followed by a single digit for each carriage counting from the driving car towards the centre, a check digit, GB for Great Britain and EIL for Eurostar International Limited. The trains are designed to be compliant with the Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSI).

Eurostar International's existing fleet of Class 373 articulated trains, which date from the opening of the Channel Tunnel in 1993, cannot operate under the 15 kV AC OHLE electrification system used in Germany, and most cannot operate under the 1.5 kv DC OHLE electrification system used in the Netherlands and do not have sufficient space to install ERTMS signalling. Therefore Eurostar cannot use its Class 373 units on services other than the current ones to Paris and Brussels as well as summer services to Avignon and ski services to Bourg St Maurice.


Siemens Velaro high speed EMUs are derived from the ICE 3 first used by Deutsche Bahn (DB) in 2000. Variants include DB Class 407, intended for international services including through the Channel Tunnel.[2]

In 2009, Eurostar announced a £700m project to update its fleet, with approximately £550m for new trains able to operate away from the core London-Paris/Brussels network.[3] In October 2010, Eurostar announced that Siemens had been selected, with the Velaro platform to be used. The Velaro e320, named because plans to operate at 320 km/h (200 mph), would be 16 cars long, twice as long as most other Velaro units, to meet the Channel Tunnel safety specifications, but, unlike the TGV-derived Class 373s, would have distributed traction with the traction equipment along the length of the train, not concentrated in power cars at each end.[4]

Court Case[edit]

The nomination of Siemens would see it break into the French high-speed market, as all French and French subsidiary high-speed operators use TGV derivatives produced by Alstom.[5] Alstom attempted legal action to prevent the contract, claiming that the Siemens sets would breach Channel Tunnel safety rules,[6] but this was thrown out of court.[7] Alstom said that it would "pursue alternative legal options to uphold its position", and on 4 November 2010 it lodged a complaint with the European Commission over the tendering process, which then asked the British government for "clarification".[8] Alstom then announced it had started legal action against Eurostar in the High Court in London.[9] In July 2011, the High Court rejected Alstom's claim that the tender process was "ineffective",[10] and in April 2012 Alstom said it would call off pending court actions against Siemens.[11]

Construction and delivery[edit]

The trains were constructed at the Siemens plant at Krefeld in Germany,[citation needed] with the first rolled out for testing at the Wildenrath test circuit in early 2013[citation needed] as Class 374, with the first unit bearing this UIC identification mark.[1] The intention was for the first unit to enter service in 2014, but due to a delay in the EBA (the German railway regulator) passing DB Class 407 for multiple working, the approval may be delayed, as the trains will follow the same approval process. As a consequence, Eurostar may only receive its first unit in 2015.[12] In April 2013, Siemens confirmed that the December 2014 date would be missed, with a revised estimate of mid-2015.[13]


An e320 being shunted at Brussels Forest depot in March 2014.

By April 2013 testing had started at Siemens Mobility's test and validation centre, Wegberg-Wildenrath.[citation needed]

On 25 June 2013 set 4001+4002 was hauled between barrier vehicles by a CrossRail Class 66 from Aachen West in Germany to Forest-South in Belgium.[citation needed] Self-powered testing commenced in early July 2013 between Gare d'Ath and Gare de Silly.[citation needed]

On 27 January 2014 set 4007+4008 was hauled across Belgium by B-Logistiks' TRAXX E 186 199,[14] and on the night of 29/30 January 2014 was dragged by Eurotunnel Class 0001 rescue locomotives via the Channel Tunnel and High Speed 1 to Temple Mills Depot where it arrived at 01:41:30 on 30 January 2014.[15][16][17]

As of July-August 2014, one can normally be seen parked in the TGV sidings between just east of Tourcoing near Lille, but it isn't clear when and what kinds of testing it is used for.


Eurostar intend to use the trains to expand its core operation between London St Pancras International, Paris Gare du Nord and Brussels Midi/Zuid. To meet the prospect of increased competition through the Channel Tunnel (primarily from DB), it intends to use them to expand its network to Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Cologne, and more destinations in France.[18] In September 2013, Eurostar announced that its new service between London and Amsterdam, intended to begin operation in December 2016, would be operated by the trains.[19]

Fleet details[edit]

Class Units Operator No. built Year built Cars per set Services operated
Class 374 4001+4002[uic 1] Eurostar 1 (2 half-sets) 2011–2013 16 Tested in Belgium, en route to Temple Mills depot[citation needed]
4003–4013 5.5 (11 half-sets) 2011–2013 completed[citation needed]
4014–4020 3.5 (7 half-sets) 2011–2015 under construction[citation needed]
  1. ^ 93 70 3740 021–8 GB-EIL, 93 70 3740 022–6 GB-EIL, 93 70 3740 023–4 GB-EIL, 93 70 3740 024–2 GB-EIL,93 70 3740 025–9 GB-EIL, 93 70 3740 026–7 GB-EIL, 93 70 3740 027–5 GB-EIL, 93 70 3740 028–3 GB-EIL plus 93 70 3740 018–4 GB-EIL, 93 70 3740 017–6 GB-EIL, 93 70 3740 016–8 GB-EIL, 93 70 3740 015–0 GB-EIL, 93 70 3740 014–3 GB-EIL, 93 70 3740 013–5 GB-EIL, 93 70 3740 012–7 GB-EIL, 93 70 3740 011–9 GB-EIL.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "New Class 374 Eurostar on test". Today's Railways (Platform 5) (134): 15. 2013. 
  2. ^ "DB unveils next-generation ICE". Railway Gazette International (London). 29 April 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "Eurostar considering larger fleet?". Railway Gazette International (London). 6 April 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Eurostar picks Velaro to expand fleet". Railway Gazette International (London). 1 October 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Wright, Robert (1 October 2010). "Row breaks out over Eurostar train order". Financial Times (London). Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  6. ^ Wright, Robert (19 October 2010). "Alstom heads for court over Eurostar trains". Financial Times (London). 
  7. ^ "Alstom fails to block Eurostar contract". International Railway Journal (London). 30 October 2010. Archived from the original on 1 November 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  8. ^ "Alstom lodges Eurostar complaint in Brussels". Financial Times (London). 4 November 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  9. ^ Wendlandt, Astrid (11 November 2010). "Alstom says Eurostar tender hearing in Oct 2011". Reuters. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  10. ^ Milmo, Dan (15 July 2011). "Siemens keeps €600m Eurostar order after Alstom legal challenge fails". The Guardian (London). p. 29. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  11. ^ Topham, Gwyn (3 April 2012). "Alstom drops Eurostar legal action after SNCF orders more trains". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "New Eurostars delayed?". Today's Railways (Platform 5) (137): 15. 2013. 
  13. ^ "Safety concerns delay new Eurostar trains". Rail News. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "First Eurostar Velaro Arrives in Britain". Railvolution. 28 January 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "6K74 Eurotunnel Boundry to Templemills Depot New Eurostar Delivery No 374 007 with 2 Krupps" (video). YouTube. Retrieved 21 March 2014. "New Eurostar Delivery. 374 007 with 2 Krupps" 
  16. ^ "2 Krupps Locos Drag The Brand New E320 Eurostar 4007/8 Through Ebbsfleet International – 30/1/14" (video). YouTube. "0040 on the 30/1/14 … re-scheduled to run overnight in the same path the next day. Here are 2 Krupps locos dragging the brand new Velaro E320 Eurostar through Ebbsfleet International working 6K74 Eurotunnel Boundary – Temple Mills Depot. Unit numbers were 374007/008" 
  17. ^ "629X 2332 Eurotunnel Boundary (Ctrl) to Temple Mills Recp". Realtime Trains. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014. "Eurotunnel Boundary (Ctrl) WTT: 2332 Realtime: 2243 (49E); Temple Mills Recp WTT: 0150 Realtime: 0141½ (8E)" 
  18. ^ Odell, Mark (13 May 2012). "Eurostar eyes expansion across Europe". Financial Times (London). 
  19. ^ "Eurostar to run London-Amsterdam services from 2016". Global Rail News. 27 September 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.