IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that while we think we're rocketing along when our XPT trains crank up to 160km/h on the run from Sydney to Melbourne, Eurostar that links London with a widening area of Europe has just ordered seventeen new trains that will have a top speed of 320kmh – exactly double that of our XPTs.
And these appropriately-named e320s will offer more space around each of their 900 seats than current Eurostar high-speed expresses, be brighter and lighter, will have WiFi connectivity and power outlets at each seat, increased luggage storage… and Business Class passengers will get the bonus of USB sockets.
The new trains that are costing one-billion British Pounds (around AU$1.8b) will start going into service in late 2015 to cater for continually-growing demand for high-speed rail in Europe – since beginning services 20 years ago, Eurostar has carried over 150-million passengers including 10-million last year alone.
And it's widening its core routes from London to Paris, Brussels, Lille, the French and Swiss Alps and Geneva, by beginning services next May to Provence by way of Lyon, Avignon and Marseilles, and in 2016 to Amsterdam via Antwerp, Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport.
Eurostar trains have buffet cars for snacks and bar drinks for Standard Class passengers (and you've also the option to BYO,) and at-seat service for Premier Class; consider all that next time you're queuing at the airport for your economy seat.
For more information on rail travel in Europe, visit www.raileurope.com.au.