Deutsche Bahn wins approval to operate through Channel Tunnel

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Deutsche Bahn (DB) has been given approval to run trains through the Channel Tunnel, opening up the opportunity of direct high-speed services between the UK and Germany.

The Intergovernmental Commission has granted DB an operating certificate following a three-year study.

Eurotunnel said in a statement that only ‘adjustments to the timetable and modifications to the paths through the Tunnel’ would be needed to accomodate the new trains.

In 2010, DB carried out a trial run of an ICE train through the tunnel to St Pancras International.

DB has indicated that it is aiming to begin operating high-speed services between Frankfurt and London by 2014.

Jacques Gounon, chairman and chief executive officer of Groupe Eurotunnel SA, said: “Twenty years after the start of commercial services, the authorities have finally opened the Channel Tunnel to all.

“This is wonderful news for the millions of passengers in northern Europe who can now use this most environmentally friendly means of transport to travel to London.”


  1. I have my doubts about through trains from London to German cities. The reason being that the British Government would insist on UK Border Agency staff being based in places such as Cologne, to check all passports and tickets prior to boarding in order to catch would-be illegal immigrants – as happens at Brussels. The alternative would be to de-train all passengers at Lille for security checks, which would add another hour on the journey, thus defeating the concept of high speed rail travel..

    • Just a thought but they could just check details on the train as transport and border police do throughout Schengen.

      • Totally agree with you. However, the UK is not party to the Schengen Agreement and the Government has always seemed to have been totally against on-train checks in respect of Eurostar services. It would therefore take a great deal of negotiating to get them to change their minds and I feel that, if they stand their ground and insist on establishing UK border-controls at German stations, DB might decide to scrap the whole idea, which would be a shame.

        • Lets hope not as you don’t have to join Schengen to have a more pragmatic on-board inspection system (plus passport details when you buy your ticket), which Kent police used to do on Eurostar until recent years.

          The UKBA are making a total nuisance of themselves in Brussels and the triple checks that passengers have to endure on Eurostar are just government showboating.

          • It’s a pity that anyone without the correct documentation could not be put straight on the next train back from whence they came.

  2. is the main problem not the requirement for all luggage to be security scanned before entry to the tunnel? It would require all stations they serve to have scanning equipment installed and all passengers, even local ones in Germany, to go through them

  3. It’s both, passengers & luggage need to be security screened and passports checked before boarding. UKBF used to do on-train passport checks, but the UK government has insisted on static in-station checks where there is a fixed data link and the appropriate IT systems. To simplify everything, all passport checks inbound/outbound could be done in London. But that still doesn’t solve the problem of screening luggage (equipment + secure station area would need to be set up in Amsterdam, Cologne, Lyon etc)


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