Eurostar has started regular service with the first train of its new design, the e320. As the name suggests, it’s designed for regular operation at 320 kph (200 mph) rather than the current 300 kph. The e320 is also equipped to extend service from Brussels to Amsterdam, although that service will not be started for another two years. The e320 models carry more passengers than the older trains, and feature various minor improvements and onboard Wi-Fi. Technically inclined riders will note that the new trains feature “distributed” power to bogies throughout the train instead of being pulled/pushed by locomotives at the ends.
I’m a big fan of Eurostar as the preferred way to travel between London and either Paris or Brussels, and I’ve also taken it from London only as far as Lille for a transfer to a TGV going to the de Gaulle station. Moreover, even though they’re nominally 300-kph trains, I once rode in a press trip where the engineer on the French side got his train up to 320 kph. Quite a ride.
For now, Eurostar is slotting its single e320 into the schedule at different times and on different routes. Presumably, the train will run where and when the extra capacity is needed. At some point in the future, you may be able to select specific e320 departures, but for how, whether you get an old or new train is a crapshoot. Fortunately, the older trains have been refurbished and remain great.
— Ed Perkins, editor
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