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EUROSTAR

German trains to ply Channel Tunnel

Germany's rail company Deutsche Bahn has been given the green light for its passenger trains to use the Channel tunnel between France and England, Eurotunnel said Friday.

German trains to ply Channel Tunnel
A Eurostar train exits the Channel Tunnel. Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP

After three years of studies, the commission in charge of tunnel security has given Deutsche Bahn permission to operate its trains in the Channel tunnel,  a statement from the operator of the tunnel rail link said.

Contacted by AFP, Eurotunnel could not say when the first German trains would cross the Channel. Deutsche Bahn was not immediately available for comment.

"Twenty years after its opening, the public authorities are finally opening the Channel tunnel to all," said Jacques Gounon, Eurotunnel CEO, in a statement.

He added that the move marked "enormous progress for millions of passengers in northern Europe."

At present, the only passenger trains allowed to use the Channel tunnel belong to Eurostar, a subsidiary of the French rail operator SNCF.

This decision "will allow for a considerable boost in exchanges between Great Britain and northern Europe," Eurotunnel said.

Eurotunnel expects to see an additional three to four million rail passengers each year.

About 20 million people crossed the Channel last year with the group celebrating its 300 millionth passenger ever in October. The tunnel, which remained an unfulfilled dream for centuries, began carrying passengers in 1994.

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EUROSTAR

Eurostar’s souvenir bomb warning after Paris station evacuated

Passengers on Eurostar have been warned about bringing shells that have been turned into souvenirs onto the trains after Paris' Gare du Nord station had to be evacuated.

Eurostar's souvenir bomb warning after Paris station evacuated
The Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord was evacuated
The Paris transport hub had to be evacuated early on Monday morning after a World War II shell was found in a passenger's bag.
 

 

The evacuation, which happened at about 5.45am on Monday, was completed by 10am, but has led to longer than usual queues for Eurostar services.

It is the latest in a series of security alerts caused by passengers trying to take souvenir war artillery on to trains.

Eurostar issued a special warning ahead of the First World War commemorations in November 2018, but with just a month to go until memorial events for the D Day landings, there are fears that the problems could recur.
 
“As you're travelling during the commemoration period, please remember that you can't bring any real or replica bombs, shells (complete or partial) or weapons on board – even if you bought them from a gift shop,” Eurostar told passengers last year.
   
“If you bring them with you, they'll be confiscated at security and may result in the need to evacuate the station.”
   
Old World War I shells turned into flower pots have been popular souvenirs in Belgium and France ever since the end of the conflict, but passengers attempting to take them on board trains for Britain have sparked bomb scares in recent years.
 
Some of the alerts, which happen every few months, have also been caused by war memorabilia collectors bringing back disarmed ordnance unearthed by farmers at battle sites in northeast France.
   
Eurostar said even disarmed shells can set off X-ray alarms.
   
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