German train makes first channel tunnel crossing: rail firm
A high-speed train run by German rail firm Deutsche Bahn has made its first crossing between France and Britain through the Channel Tunnel, a spokesman for the firm said Tuesday.
The train made its historic trip overnight and now stands in London's St. Pancras station, where it is due to be presented later Tuesday by Deutsche Bahn boss Ruediger Grube and German and British government officials.
The ICE train made its inaugural test run on Wednesday, becoming the first passenger train not run by Eurostar -- an operator jointly owned by France, Britain and Belgium -- to use the tunnel.
Carrying drivers and technical staff from Deutsche Bahn and tunnel operator Eurotunnel, but no passengers, it went part of the way through the tunnel before turning back and re-entering France after 10 minutes.
The German operator wants to demonstrate its ability to run safely on the route, which is being opened up to competition under European Union rules, to the annoyance of France, which has so far dominated cross-Channel traffic.
In 2012, Deutsche Bahn plans to offer services to London for the Olympics, meaning that for the first time two European railways will compete on a cross border route.
By the end of 2013, the firm plans to offer regular train services between Germany and Britain.
© 2010 AFP