France - Germany

Eurostar to buy Siemens trains, Germany tells France to back off

Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

France has called a decision by Eurostar to order new trains from the German company Siemens instead of the French company Alstom “null and void”. Germany has told France to stay out of the deal, and says it is in line with the European single market.

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“We think the French intervention is unjustified,” said the spokesperson for the German government, Steffen Seibert, Monday during a press briefing.

The French minister in charge of transportation, Dominique Bussereau, last week said Eurostar’s decision to order Siemens trains would not work.

“From the beginning we have been telling the directors of the Eurotunnel and of Eurostar that anything other than the existing Alstom material will not work, and so the decision made by Eurostar is null and void,” he said.

Eurostar is the train company owned by the French, Belgian and British rail companies that runs trains through the tunnel under the English Channel.

Siebert dismissed the comment, saying that what counts “is what Eurostar thinks”.

The French government has said that only trains made by Alstom meet the security regulations for the tunnel.

Eurotunnel, which runs the tunnel, has said it could be open to other rail, specifically the German rail company Deutsche Bahn, which would like to open a Frankfort-London or Cologne-London line.

Deutsche Bahn tested a Siemens train in the tunnel on Saturday.

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