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New Eurostar e320 trains now in service

New Eurostar e320 trains now in service

Old Dec 14, 15, 5:30 am
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New Eurostar e320 trains now in service

My girlfriend took an earlier train than I to Paris last Friday morning and managed to get on one of the new e320 trains.

Being a bit jealous, I decided to try and figure out which services are being operated by the new trains. It turns out they are shown in GDS systems as aircraft type "TRS", as opposed to "TRN" for the standard trains. So you can use services like ExpertFlyer to determine the train type.

Currently there's 7 daily departures in each direction between London and Paris being operated by the new e320s.

For example, on Monday Dec 21st:

London -> Paris

9004 7:01
9008 7:55
9024 12:24
9036 15:31
9040 16:31
9046 18:01
9054 20:01

Paris -> London

9009 7:43
9015 9:13
9027 12:13
9031 13:13
9047 17:13
9059 20:13
9063 21:13

This pattern seems to be consistent for Monday-Thursday services for at least the next few weeks. Timetables are a bit different on Friday-Sunday.

The e320s appear to be operating exclusively between London and Paris for now, with Brussels and the "South of France" services using old trains. Incidentally, e320s cannot call at Ashford due to signalling limitations, so services that stop there will be an old train.

The first thing you notice about the Siemens-built e320 is how huge they are. They certainly tower above the old Eurostar trains when you see them along side each other. Obviously taking full advantage of that European loading gauge!
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Old Dec 14, 15, 9:22 am
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Interesting - I'm booked on 9004 and 9047 tomorrow.
9004 is definitely a 320 as it has 16 carriages on the seating plan, but 9047 is still showing with an 18-carriage seating plan which suggests it will be an old train, although GDS does show it operated by "TRS". I will report back...
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Old Dec 14, 15, 10:03 am
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Hmm, in that case, perhaps the refurbished classic trains (e300) are also designated as "TRS" in the GDSs?

I don't think there's any way to get a seat map without already having a booking, so I guess there's no way to distinguish between an e300 and an e320.
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Old Dec 17, 15, 3:22 pm
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Yes, regret to say that my 9047 on Tuesday night was an old, unrefurbished, filthy e320 despite being shown as TRS in ExpertFlyer even that morning...
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Old Dec 18, 15, 7:37 am
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I'm sitting on 9037 at Gare du Nord in an old cabin train (but in Seat 61) and am looking over at the train set across the platform from me and assuming it is 9031. If that's the case, it looks like the old seats as well.
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Old Jan 15, 16, 9:40 am
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Brand new Eurostar e320 trains - very disappointing

I was really looking forward to the new trains, mostly because they'd finally offer WiFi on board but also hoping that they'd just be aesthetically more pleasant and more comfortable.Since these are the Siemens trains that basically use the German ICE 3 trains as a "foundation" I was hoping that Eurostar were taking some inspiration from Deutsche Bahn so that we can find the same or even nicer cabin interior, with leather seats and some wood paneling, pleasant colours, relatively large tables, and why not also some "compartiments". And this is not even going as far as hoping for a proper restaurant car

First trip today. Extremely disappointed.

1. No WiFi. For how long have they been advertising that they'll bring it on as if this was a pioneering act - when in fact they are ten years late, and not even that if they don't keep their promise to actually have it rolled out by now.
2. The train is in service only since a couple of weeks, and the cabins look tired and filthy already (guess that has more to do with the diligence of the cleaning teams than with the trains being badly designed).
3. No "compartments" but only one big cabin (not a problem, we can live with that), but with some sub-dividers made of grey-tainted glass that look like plain grey plastic. Which basically takes away the feeling of roominess and depending on where you sit you stare at a grey wall.
4. Seat aesthetics: no leather, but cheap-looking (and stained and filthy) tissue upholstery. Thin construction, compared to the old Eurostar seats they feel a bit like going from the old padded airline seats to the new ultra thin LCC-type. Small armrest, like on the Air France NEO planes. Reading lamps are in places and with an angle that makes them useless (basically they shed some light on my left shoulder, but not on the book that is on front of me on the table).
5. Seat comfort: again, the seats feel like the cheap LCC seats. Much less leg support, less recline, and overall less comfortable
5. No more waste containers/trash cans at seats, but only collective ones throughout the carriage. Don't see the point, other than maybe making cleaning more "efficient" as cleaning crews now no longer have to empty numerous in-seat waste containers but have more time to do a bad job cleaning the seats ;-)
6. Tables smaller

The only positive I could find was that the Business Premier carriages were now at the ultimate front end of the train, making disembarking faster when traveling towards Paris (not sure what is at the other end, maybe the Paris-bound advantage becomes a London-bound disadvantage). But seriously, I couldn't care less about that, I just tried to find *something* positive with the new trains.

So now we have the choice between old, ghastly designed first generation GEC-Alsthom TGC TMST trains without WiFi and filthy and worn-down cabin interiors, or the new slightly less ghastly but also less comfortable brand-new Siemens-Velaro e320 without WiFi and worn-down cabin interiors. Lovin' it.

All in all, a wasted opportunity. But I guess when you're the quasi-monopolist you can do things like that. I am unhappy about it, but for 99% of my Paris-London travel will still take Eurostar simply because any other means of transportation is more hasslesome.
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