Deutsche Bahn seeks approval to run ICE trains through the Channel Tunnel

Deutsche Bahn has submitted an application for fundamental approval of its ICE trains for the Channel Tunnel to the safety authority responsible for this, the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC).

An independent Swiss engineering office prepared a comprehensive safety study for the submission on behalf of DB. The office has already assessed the safety of the world’s longest railway tunnel, the 57-kilometre long Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland.

The expert’s assessment on the ICE provides evidence of the safety compliant features of the 200-metre long trainsets in both single and double traction mode.

In addition, extensive evacuation simulations were performed by a second group of experts, which also attest to the ICE’s safety compliant features. The ICE also successfully completed the first evacuation test inside the Channel Tunnel with two coupled trains in October 2010.

“We have provided all the evidence necessary for the fundamental approval of our ICE trains in the Channel Tunnel. This means that we are now much closer to meeting all the requirements for a direct ICE service between London and cities such as Cologne, Frankfurt and Amsterdam,” says Ulrich Homburg, Member of the DB Management Board responsible for Passenger Transport.

In the middle of June, the Intergovernmental Commission approved trains for the Channel Tunnel with distributed drive systems, as is the case with the ICE.

This had been preceded by a recommendation to this effect by the European Railway Agency (ERA). As a result of the extensive preparatory work that has now been completed, DB is optimistic that it will be given fundamental clearance for its ICE trains by the IGC before the end of summer 2011.

Until the trains can begin operations, however, there are more steps in the approval process ahead.

Deutsche Bahn will soon apply for a safety certificate for the ICE in the Channel Tunnel.

This will be followed by extensive trial and licensing runs with the trains earmarked for services to London St Pancras International. Regular services are expected to commence during 2013.




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