Eurostar, a high-speed railway service that connects London with Paris and Brussels, will not be receiving the new trains that it has on order by the expected delivery date.
The trains are in the process of being manufactured by German engineering group Siemans, but delays in the process mean that the first delivery of 10 Velaro trains will not now be met before the end of 2014 as originally promised. Instead, delivery is more likely to be some time during the first few months of 2015.
In a statement reported by the Financial Times, Eurostar said, ‘We are still expecting delivery of most of the trainsets during 2015. It is fair to say there are still a number of technical issues but we are happy with the way the programme is progressing.’
The contract to build the trains is worth €700 million, and Eurostar awarded it to Siemans after tenders had been received in 2010. Although the first delivery date is now unlikely to be met, Siemans is still reported to be making steady progress with the build, and six trains are apparently at the testing stage.
In an acceptance of responsibility for the delay, Siemens’ head of infrastructure and cities division, Roland Busch, reportedly told German daily newspaper, Suddeutsche Zeitung, ‘I admit we underestimated the complexity of the contract. The European railway control systems are like an old rag rug that we manufacturers are expected to turn into a Persian carpet.’
The Eurostar service has operated since 1994 and has 18 coach-class trains that operate at up to 186 mph on a network of high-speed lines.