Europorte Channel gains authorisation for Class 92s to operate on HS1
Europorte Channel, which provides traction services for rail freight trains through the Channel Tunnel and international haulage from Spain and Italy to the UK, has been granted approval for the use of its fleet of Class 92 locomotives on HS1 between London and the Channel Tunnel.
Access to HS1 means that Europorte Channel can haul larger gauge and higher speed freight traffic between destinations across the continent and London, through the Channel Tunnel, with the journey time from the Tunnel to London being reduced from 4 hours on traditional routes to just 70 minutes.
Europorte Channel train drivers are currently being trained to drive on the new route and it is expected that new commercial services will start early in 2012.
Europorte Channel can now use its 16 Class 92s throughout the UK network and through the Channel Tunnel, meaning that there is only one locomotive change necessary when arriving in France, where the Class 92s are still unauthorised.
John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, stated
"This is very good news for the future of rail freight in the UK and internationally. The extra speed and increased size of wagons that can be carried on HS1 bring significant advantages to rail freight transportation and we hope that this move will pave the way for further expansion of rail freight through the Channel Tunnel".
Part of Europorte, the railway freight subsidiary of Group Eurotunnel, Europorte Channel was the first operator - apart from SNCF- to be granted a licence authorising it to develop rail services throughout the European Union. Europorte Channel (previously Europorte 2) began operations on 28 November 2007. Europorte Channel uses 11 specialised Class 92 Brush locomotives to haul freight trains between the two Channel Tunnel Terminals, Dollands Moor in the UK (Kent) and Frethun in France (Pas de Calais). These are equipped to travel through the Channel Tunnel and are approved throughout the British railway network (now including HS1). Europorte Channel also has in its fleet one Alstom Prima locomotive which can operate in France and Germany. Europorte Channel is a key link in the intentions of Groupe Eurotunnel to develop cross- Channel rail freight by offering the same quality and ease of service which have proven successful with the Shuttle business. Europorte Channel also offers integrated "cross-Channel" solutions which include traction of trains on British soil.