Deutsche Bahn, the German national rail operator, will not be able to operate its train route between Germany and London St Pancras before 2016, according to a recent report.
The report by Spiegel Online suggests that the rail company is having technical issues with train constructor, Siemens, and may not be able to take delivery of the new high-speed ICE trains ordered in 2008. Deutsche Bahn also expects its existing services to be impacted in the winter, when the lack of new trains to replace those in for repair is likely to lengthen delays and cancellations.
Berthold Huber, the head of the German rail company, said, ‘Our customers feel as though they have been left in the lurch by Siemens. We had fully expected to have the new trains in reserve this winter to compensate for cancellations as a result of extreme weather.
You must remember that we ordered the trains in December 2008 and delivery was originally promised for last December.’
In October 2010, Deutsche Bahn, announced its high speed ICE (InterCity Express) train at St Pancras, and a scheduled service of three return journeys between Frankfurt and London, through Cologne, Brussels and Lille.
The journey time from London to Cologne was expected to take less than four hours, and around five hours for the journey from London to Frankfurt. Travel from Amsterdam to London was expected to take less than four hours on the new trains.
Deutsche Bahn has ordered 15 of the ICE trains from Siemens, which will have a maximum speed of 320kph (200mph), and will cost a total of €500 million.
However, delays to the project have resulted in disappointment for many. Michael Birtles, the managing director of European Rail, said, ‘The news has come as a disappointment. We thought the arrival of ICE in London would mean we would be offering our business customers a really competitive product between London, Cologne and Frankfurt.’