EUROPE: Eurostar has described as ‘speculation’ French media reports that it has called prequalification bids for the supply of eight new trainsets, with options for 15 more.

The French reports suggested that a specification for 400 m long trains would be issued in May, with bids closing in August. A decision on the choice of supplier would be made in January 2010, with 2013 as a possible delivery date.

'Eurostar's strategic priority is the interior refurbishment of our existing fleet of Class 373 high-speed trains, in order to put them in the best possible condition for the rest of their working lives', the company told Railway Gazette International's UK sister publication Rail Business Intelligence. 'These trains have served the business well and will continue to do so for many years to come.

‘We have not taken any decision to buy new rolling stock. If we were to do so, it would be a small number of trains that would enable us to develop and grow the business in a competitive marketplace.’

  • Eurostar confirmed on March 30 that it would be making an announcement shortly about the choice of supplier for refurbishment of its present fleet.