DB running trains from London to Germany - any progress?

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by jon0844, 5 Sep 2017.

  1. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    So given it's been very quiet of late on this, I was wondering what the latest was on any plans to run trains from London to Germany?

    I bring it up because I heard over the weekend at Stratford International that a German company (I assume DB) is apparently bidding to operate the never-used International platforms to run trains to Germany.

    It struck me as a bit odd why anyone would want to use Stratford, unless St Pancras is deemed full (but then how could it work at Stratford?).

    Plus, did Stratford ever get kitted out with an international departures and arrival hall? Is it just sitting empty, or has it been used for other purposes since? How easy would it be to actually get the station actually capable of accepting international trains?

    I really long for trains to Germany, but now seems even more unlikely than ever - especially with Brexit!
     
  2. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    Latest info I have seen on that subject dates from March 2020 and states that depending on Brexit outcomes, service could be instated in 2020. DB needs more rolling stock and wants to address the market to Belgium and northern France first.

    Envoyé de mon SM-T819 en utilisant Tapatalk
     
  3. Joe Paxton

    Joe Paxton Established Member

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    Pretty sure the space is just sitting empty. During the 2012 Games, when the Javelin service was running between St Pancras and Stratford, the international platforms were used and the walking routes through the station included some of the 'airside' areas along with temporary hoardings.

    For what it's worth, the station building at Stratford International is essentially the same layout as that of Ebbsfleet International.

    Of course there'd be a cost to kitting it out for international services - security scanners, chairs and decor in the lounge etc - but I imagine the principle cost would be staffing, including that of the Border Force and police.

    As for a potential DB service to London... well, what with Brexit and all its uncertainties, I wouldn't advise holding your breath!
     
    Last edited: 5 Sep 2017
  4. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Of course , should the city vacate to Frankfurt post Brexit - then there may be an assured high value market for such a service.
     
  5. Chris999999

    Chris999999 Member

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    Well that is hardly likely to happen.
     
  6. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    Are the immigration desks manned at stratford or would people need to be hired
     
  7. Joe Paxton

    Joe Paxton Established Member

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    The immigration queues at Stratford are the stuff of myths... ;)
     
  8. MCR247

    MCR247 Established Member

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    Why on earth would they be manned?
     
  9. AlexNL

    AlexNL Member

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    What would those people do all day? Watch football and play sudoku?
     
  10. Lrd

    Lrd Established Member Jobs & Careers Assistant

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    Even though the station is called Stratford International, no international trains currently stop there. It's just the Southeastern services to Kent that stop.
     
  11. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Exactly ...ever been to Frankfurt and seen the comparison with good old "Lahndon"......merely put on to draw fire.
     
  12. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Which makes you wonder we don't have border patrol there for those coming from the Medway towns! :)
     
  13. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    If there was an incident preventing eurostars reaching kings cross that had already passed ebbsfleet
     
  14. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    What about Ebbsfleet and Ashford ?Are they manned all the time?
     
  15. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    It's being used as office space.
     
  16. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    Then staff would travel from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet, or services would be turned back to Ebbsfleet.
     
  17. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    It does seem very likely though that there will be more business done in Frankfurt that has links to London - including perhaps because that is where it was previously done.

    It seems very likely there is potential there to add to this market, although exactly how much remains to be seen.
     
  18. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    23 flights a day London to Frankfurt, ie in the region of 4-5000 seats each way. Direct trains would need to capture around 20% of the market to justify 2 trains a day each way. Possibly doable on a 5h journey time. I'd suggest 6h would be too long to make that sort of market share.

    Fares would need to be set for the business market to make it viable, but then that's what most London Frankfurt travel is.
     
  19. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    London Cologne would be a good start with connections to the rest of the German network.
     
  20. GingerSte

    GingerSte Member

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    Last year, you could do London-Cologne in 4 hours (using the 12:58 departure), including a 20 minute change at Brussels. (I think that Eurostar or Thalys have decided that 20 minutes is a bit risky, given the delay problems E* had with people in the tunnel last year.) According to Wikipedia, you can do Cologne-Frankfurt in 62 minutes. 5 hours should therefore be do-able, even with 5 minutes in Brussels.

    That 4 hours includes stops at Ashford, Lille, Liege and Aachen. Saving 15 minutes from the change at Brussels, plus (say) 5 minutes at three of these, and you're into 4.5 hour territory.

    I also think that there are time savings to be had on station arrivals and despatch - E* and European services don't seem to have a sense of urgency to me. This is only my opinion, though!

    I would add that a Cologne/Frankfurt (or anywhere else in Germany) would most-likely be an extension of a Brussels service. You wouldn't therefore need to fill the train purely with passengers to Germany.

    If you are going to go for a business-oriented market, there are other considerations. I would prefer to see more table seats than you get in the old 373's (I haven't been in a refurbished one or a 374 yet). Room to work should be one of rail's strengths compared to air, but I don't feel it is capitalised on.
     
  21. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    You'd have to stop at Aachen for the voltage changeover. Liege can probably go.

    I agree that a limited stop service would be under 5hrs on the way out. Not on the way back though.

    However if Brexit means that inbound UK border control moves to St Pancras, that then means the trip back can also be sub 5hr. A couple of morning departures, one in the middle of the day, and one around 1800 should get around 20% of the market.
     
    Last edited: 8 Sep 2017
  22. johnnychips

    johnnychips Established Member

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    But then add 20-30 minutes for the border control, which I frequently experienced during the 'Lille Loophole' panic a couple of years ago.

    Of course, border control has to be somewhere. Brussels has been terrible recently, even with the new layout, and of course airports have their own problems, though Heathrow seems to be less mentioned in poor reviews than Luton and Stansted, and to a lesser extent Gatwick.

    Lots of unknowns and hypotheses at the moment.
     
    Last edited: 8 Sep 2017
  23. Gerald Fiennes

    Gerald Fiennes Member

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    ES I'm sure would want to keep the Border Controls on the Continent side. If the UK Government did for some reason wish them to move to the UK, they would still fine ES for all those with inadequate (or no) documents that they brought in, as they do for airlines, meaning that ES would need to check everyone's paperwork anyway. And, in addition, the arrivals area would struggle to cope with passport inspections from up to c.1400 people at once (they still flight Brussels and Paris arrivals...). At the end of the day, both the departure and arrival areas for ES are too small (in part a consequence of creating a shopping mall alongside...!):(
     
  24. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    Could one no do on board inspections and send people who have no valid documents back at Calais Fretuin?
     
  25. daodao

    daodao Member

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    There will have to be a thorough border inspection, similar to that between Belarus and Poland, for trains through the channel tunnel post Brexit, with lengthy stops in both England and France. While this could be done at St.Pancras for trains running non-stop to/from Europe, checks will have to be done in France for trains to/from Belgium. The EU will want a rigorously policed border for the Schengen zone post Brexit, with visa checks for all.

    I expect a significant drop in Eurostar travel post Brexit, and can't imagine that direct trains London-Frankfurt would be viable.
     
    Last edited: 10 Sep 2017
  26. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

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    The UK isn't part of Schengen even now, so why the lengthy stops in future?
     
  27. Gadget88

    Gadget88 Member

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    Now Euro stars are going to Amsterdam then Cologne would be the next logical destination to add.
     
  28. daodao

    daodao Member

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    Post Brexit, identity documents are likely to be scrutinised much more closely and visas are likely to be required by many more travellers.
     
  29. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Member

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    It's Frankfurt or not bother in my opinion. It's the only market that is doable given the number of seats available by air. I'm unsure on the demand for Cologne but business people will not want a change of trains to get to Frankfurt. They would fly instead. Check in at both ends would have to be as swift as possible so as to eat in to some of the advantage of flying. Loved to be proved wrong though!
     
  30. AlexNL

    AlexNL Member

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    If Eurostar were to go to Germany, I'm pretty sure they'll serve both Cologne and Frankfurt. Thanks to the SFS it's a journey which only takes an hour, while there's quite a market potential.
     

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