EUROPE: A ‘blueprint’ for the operation of direct high speed services to and from London was presented to the Mayor of Bordeaux and the President of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region on April 29.
The proposals are being developed jointly by HS1 Ltd, which manages the high speed line between London and the Channel Tunnel, Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel, French infrastructure manager SNCF Réseau and Tours – Bordeaux high speed line infrastructure concessionaire LISEA.
HS1 Ltd said the aim was to produce a package of train paths which would ‘allow for a new international train operator to get the direct service to Bordeaux up and running within two years’. This operator would not have to be Eurostar; the only current Channel Tunnel high speed train operator told Railway Gazette on April 30 that it was currently focusing on developing the London – Amsterdam route which it introduced last year.
HS1 Ltd predicts that up to 200 000 passengers/year would use a London – Bordeaux service. Last year the infrastructure managers agreed to study the feasibility of adapting Bordeaux Saint-Jean station to handle passengers traveling to and from the UK.
‘The prospect of travel between the centre of London and Bordeaux in less than 5 h brings southwest France within easy reach for business travellers and holidaymakers’, said Keith Ludeman, Chair of HS1 Ltd.
HS1 Ltd said it also has ‘other international target destinations’ including Genève and Frankfurt.