Eurostar has now reached its quarter century. It does not seem that long ago that services began! This is the latest of a number of posts on the 25th anniversary of the Eurostar/Channel Tunnel services – and there are a couple more to be published! Just to recap the very first passenger carrying train (a special Class 313) to traverse the Chunnel was on 10 December 1993 whilst the Channel Tunnel was officially opened by The Queen in May 1994. It would however be another six months before the new terminal at Waterloo International opened to the public and the cross-channel Eurostar services could begin.
This tribute is a look at the old 1994 Eurostar order, including Waterloo International. You wont find any pictures of the newer order here, no e320s nor any refurbished e300s (with a couple of exceptions) and just the very briefest mention of St. Pancras International. All that stuff comes in another post!
How it was originally intended to look in 1988! Class 373’s and Class 50s! How would that have worked? Passport control for passengers to Exeter perhaps? Source: Twitter
The plans for Waterloo International were clearly conceived by this time. The sweeping roof flung over and down one side of the station. The number of platforms are clearly apparent. This would be that which was built, no doubt a result of the very limited space in which the terminal would have to be built.
An early testing of part of the Waterloo International roof. Source: Grimshaw International
The new cafe area at Waterloo International. Source: Grimshaw International
These two photographs shown above are some of the lovely views showing how things would look. You can see other photographs (as well as plans) of the excellent international terminus at Grimshaw International – they are the company who designed the structure under the direction of its leading architect – Sir Nicholas Grimshaw.
The roof is said to be an ‘asymmetric reinterpretation of 19th century trainsheds and glasshouses.’ Think about it… Eurostar has moved to St. Pancras where again the roof is one of a celebrated kind. It was the largest overall roof in the world for its time in the 1860s and the Grimshaw roof is of course a celebration of that styling where the roof spans an entire space without a single column to be seen anywhere within that space. There are calls for the Waterloo building to be given listed status in view of its unusual architectural merits. That has not yet been done however the structure is so revered I am sure no-one would ever dare think of having it pulled down!
A model of the new Waterloo International.
The focus of both technical skill and architectural spectacle is the roof, essentially a flattened three-pin bow string arch whose most striking quality, the asymmetry of the trusses, derives from the position of a single track tight onto the western edge of the site, and the resulting need for the structure to rise more steeply at this point to clear the trains. This side is clad entirely in glass with the structure on the outside, creating a showcase for the trains and allowing arriving passengers a glimpse of Westminster and the River Thames. Source: EUmies Award
Side elevation showing the structure to great advantage. The different levels can clearly be seen . Source: EUmies Award
The passport booths just inside the station. Once through the ticket barriers this would be the next bit passengers had to pass through. Source: EUmies Award
As these (and the earlier photographs show) Waterloo International wasnt a railway station in the general sense! The huge corridor shown below (which still exists today in a different role) does sort of evoke images of the space station seen in 2001: A Space Odyssey!
The main passenger waiting area. This is now the concourse from the lower level area (including the tube) to the new escalators within the former International terminus. Source: Twitter
The Channel Tunnel Terminal is a railway station that serves the same purpose as an airport. It is in direct competition with air travel and has most of the services and facilities normally associated with an airport as well as all the necessary back- up required to handle up to 15 million passengers a year. Less than ten minutes walk from Trafalgar Square, it has a taxi drop-off only 15m from the ticket barrier. Source: EUmies Award
The reception area at Waterloo International. Source: Twitter
The recruitment brochure for the new Eurostar customer services staff 1993. The company was at the time known as European Passenger Services (an offshoot of British Rail.) Source: Twitter
Explanation of who EPS were and its mission statement – the Eurostar services. Source: Twitter
What of the first trains through the tunnel? Its difficult to know exactly. The earliest proper passenger train through it was on 12th March 1993. What sort of train it was is not known.
However the public trips afforded by a pair of Class 319s was the first real sort of public trips into the tunnel. The 319s didnt go all the way. They only went as far as Calais on 10th December 1993 and then later undertook a series of shuttles into the tunnel from Sandling for the public.
The name plate and commemorative plaque on the Class 319, the first ever passenger train to traverse the Channel Tunnel in December 1993. Source: Reddit
The other end of the train was known as Cheriton. Source: Flickr
The reason for the running of the Class 319 passenger train through the tunnel on 10th December 1993 was the official hand over of the tunnel from Trans Manche Limited (its builders) to Eurotunnel (the operators.)
There’s one mystery! As we have seen the Class 319 (units 008 and 009) ventured as far as Calais. However Sir Alastair Morton claims the very first train through the tunnel ventured as far as Paris! Is that true? Morton says the journey took three and half hours. Perhaps the Class 319 undertook an extra unpublicised working? Or it was in fact a TMST that went through the same day after this public launch?
Was that possible? Apparently it would have been! The first ever Eurostar to go through the tunnel was on 20th June 1993, this was the first of a series of intensive testing. The TGV line from Paris to Calais had in the meantime begun its passenger services on 24th September 1993. These services initially had to go via Lillie Flandres as the section through Lillie Europe was not finished.
Alistair Morton’s claim that a train (Eurostar no doubt) went all the way from London to Paris on 10th December 1993 is quite possible. It may well have been that it travelled behind the 319s and picked up Morton and his entourage from Calais. The down side to this? Well, its just an assertion made to the newspapers – so far there’s no actual photographic evidence or any other record of any sort to support this.
We’ll just have to take Sir Alastair Morton’s assertion with a pinch of salt.
However records do show one Eurostar was at least in full operation by the 10th December 1993. This train, the first ever Eurostar to venture into Waterloo International achieved that milestone on 22nd December 1993. So maybe there’s something yet to be found out about this particular aspect of the tunnel’s early days…
Perhaps the first proper Eurostar advert? 1994. Source: Twitter
Preview of the International Terminal apparently, before services began November 1994. Source: Twitter
The above image could have been the inauguration of the Brussels – London services which took place on 13th October 1994, a full month in advance of the official start of services. For that event King Albert II of Belgium and Queen Paola rode the Eurostar from Brussels-Lille-Europe-London. The picture below shows King Albert and Queen Paola after a ceremony at Lille-Europe. The train took the classic Belgian Line 94 from Brussels to Tournai where it then joined the SNCF network and the brand new Nord TGV high speed line from Paris to Calais.Embed from Getty Images
King Albert II of Belgium and Queen Paola at Lille-Europe. Source: Gettys
Model posing by Eurostar 3005/3006 at Waterloo International prior to a special press trip to Paris on 20th October 1004. Source: Smugmug
1994 Eurostar map. Source: Twitter
The first Eurostars at Waterloo to launch the new services. Source: RTL
Pre Nov 14th 1994 rarity! Belgian Eurostar advert about forthcoming reservations for the new services. Source: Twitter
Tickets for the first ever Eurostar to Bruxelles. Source: Twitter
1994 Belgian poster advertising the start of Eurostar services from Brussels Midi to London Waterloo. Source: Twitter
The first ever Eurostar timetable. Services were quite rudimentary indeed – it was a trial period ahead of Eurostar’s full launch in 1995. Source: Twitter
The first ever Paris services to stop at Calais Frethun began on 23rd January 1995.
Eurostar leaving Waterloo with the London Eye visible. Source: RTL
The Guardian on Eurostar’s inauguration. Source: The GuardianEmbed from Getty Images
Passengers using the ticket gates at Waterloo International whilst staff look on. Source: Gettys.
Welcome pack for new Immigration Officers joining up at Waterloo International, 1994. Source: Twitter
Willesborough crossing near Ashford was the only one on the entire Eurostar route! Source: Twitter
Here’s a news article on Willesborough crossing, published January 1994, in light of the news the crossing would be used by Eurostars. Independent.
A pair of Class 37s hauling a Eurostar … Source: Twitter
(being the one where we take a look at the train staff and some V.I.Ps!)
The very early Eurostar uniforms were the popular Pierre Balman designs. In 2014 Jermyn Street designed new uniforms for the company and these were paraded at St. Pancras in 2014.
But first, here’s the tie-in (!)
The Pierre Balman label on the original Eurostar ties. These ties were tiger striped. I suppose this was akin to putting a tiger in the chunnel! Source: Twitter
Original 1994 train crew uniform. Posed by models I think! Source: Twitter
Original Eurostar uniform for the catering crews. 1994. Definitely models! Source: Twitter
Large uniform overcoat for the train driver. This was the only garment to actually carry the Eurostar symbol. Apparently it wasn’t used. Not Captain Scarlet enough I suppose? Source: Twitter
Eurostar 2005 uniforms paraded at Waterloo International. Look what happened to the uniforms after they were relegated from service! (See pic below…) Source: Twitter
The older Eurostar uniforms were recycled as bags! Source: Twitter
Princes Charles and Harry on Eurostar in 1998. I think this would be more of a Prince Harry picture however – he’s the real star these days! Source: RTL
Lovely photograph of David Bowie at Waterloo International. The date? 30th June 2002. Dressed very smartly for the occasion! Source: Twitter
David Bowie about to get the Eurostar at Waterloo. June 2002. Source: Twitter
Certainly a very unusual photograph and one I like very much (even though I’m no Royal!) An excellent capture of the images of The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on the train’s windows as they walk down the platform at Waterloo International in July 2007 prior to a Eurostar trip to Belgium. Source: Travel & Leisure
The Eurostar concourse with a painting of some Royal I think. The station’s passport booths can clearly be seen just past the ticket barriers. Source: Flickr
The side entrance to Waterloo International where the taxis dropped off passengers. Source: Lambeth Archives
London has never been as close to the cobbled streets of Paris. 1999 Eurostar advert. Source: Twitter
Eurostar’s 5th anniversary with a Mechant Navy for the Golden Arrow. November 1999. Source: Twitter
The Eurostars did get to meet a few steam locomotives along the way. Here’s a puffer at the entrance to the Chunnel… it was testing the tunnel’s alarm systems!
The steam locomotive on test at the Channel Tunnel in 1994. It only went inside the portal very briefly just to test things. The engine was 230 G no 353. Source: Twitter
A picture of 230 G 353 taken from a passing Eurostar by Tony, a former 373 driver. He says his train was also on test and coming out of the tunnel wrong direction. Source: Twitter
Nice pic of two TMST’s at Waterloo. The unit on the right is 3020. Source: Twitter
Eurostar Intermission #2
(being the one about the North of London services….)
The NoL services never got off to a start. As the following pictures show a move was made to begin these however it just didn’t happen!
Brochure for the North of London services, 1996. Source: Twitter
The inside of the brochure with a map of the routes that were planned from the summer of 1996. Source: Twitter
Regional depots for the Eurostars were built and that at Manchester is used for Trans Pennine stock. The depot still has evidence of its original intent of use – for stabling Eurostars as the next picture shows.
Class 373 position markers inside the Manchester International Depot. Source: Twitter
Eurostar 73s and 373 at Waterloo in 2002. Source: Twitter
Eurostar 2003 – on 30th July a record for the fastest UK Rail speed was set by a Class 373 (3313/14) passing over the Medway viaduct. Source: Twitter
Apparently the marker stone and plaque shown above was unveiled ten years after the actual event. The driver who was in charge of the record breaking train, Alan Pears, unveiled the plaque on 30th July 2013 near the Medway Viaduct as this ITV report shows.
Staff at Waterloo International celebrate the 208mph/334kmh record breaking run. The driver, Alan Pears, is at right with the trophy. Source: Twitter.
In perhaps typical Britishness the record breaking run could have been faster. It was crimped at 208mph as a maximum due to fears the wires would come down on HS1! Guardian.
The plaque on the record breaking 3313. Source: Twitter
The record breaking 3313 at Gare du Nord. 3313 is known as the Entente Cordiale and was used to celebrate the anniversary of that in 2004. Source: Twitter
Eurostar’s 10th anniversary celebrated at Gare du Nord, 2004. Source: RTL
The 10th Anniversary version on this side of the Chunnel! Source: Twitter
Waterloo International in 2004 with 3007 waiting to be towed to North Pole depot by a pair of Eurostar Class 37s. Source: Twitter
Eurostar just passed Bromley South en route to Waterloo. The photo is taken from the footbridge midway between Bromley South and Shortlands. Source: Twitter
Waterloo International 2004. Source: Twitter
Nice line up of 373s! Source: Twitter
Waterloo international January 2006 with a Eurostar waiting to depart. Source: Twitter
Eurostar coming off the West London lines at Factory Junction, probably on an empty working to the continent. If it had been going to Waterloo it would have used the spur at Clapham Junction instead. Source: Twitter
3202 seen coming off the Brixton lines at Herne Hill en route for Paris Nord in September 2007. Source: Twitter
Eurostar Intermission #3
(being the one about the Waterloo International finale…)
Here’s where we see some St. Pancras pictures! Its somewhat relevant at this point and that is because the campaign for the move from Waterloo International was supplemented with images of St. Pancras – informing people of that imminent move.
Reminder – double page spread saying seven days to go before Waterloo International closes! Source: Flickr
Its happening tomorrow! Double page advert informing of the almost imminent move to St. Pancras. 13th November 2007. Source: Flickr
As the above tweet shows, quite a few people kept mementos of the last Eurostars into (or out of) Waterloo…
See what I mean! Waterloo meant so much to many.
Waterloo International finale. 13th November 2007. Source: Twitter
A band plays as the last Eurostars arrive at Waterloo on 13th November 2007. Source: Twitter
Its goodbye Waterloo International. 13th November 2007. Source: Twitter
The inevitable. Waterloo International is closed. Source: Twitter
Eurostar’s services started from St. Pancras 14th November 2007.
That wasnt the only change effected in fact. The trains would no longer use North Pole depot (these days its now the Azuma depot for the Great Western railway.) Temple Mills depot would instead be the stabling point for the Eurostars based in the UK.
Perhaps the biggest change of all that happened? The Eurostars lost their shoes after midnight! Oh gawd!
Hold on – it wasn’t that bad actually! It was just the power shoes for third rail operation were no longer required because the entire line from St Pancras to the continent would now be by way of overhead power supply.
It just meant there would be no more trundling via Brixton or the Catford Loop (and even Bat & Ball or Maidstone on the odd occasion) in order to reach the Chunnel….
Waterloo International Epilogue:
The remains of Waterloo International – and a few more classic Class 373 pictures!
The International Terminal when the old Eurostar sign was still partially visible. Source: Twitter
The remains of the Eurostar clock and departure sceeen some years ago. Source: Twitter
International Junction – where Eurostar separated from the LSWR lines to go into Waterloo International. Source: Twitter
The final vestiges of the former Eurostar terminus, seen in July 2016. Source: Twitter
There has been much to commend the old 373s. Its said they ride much better than the new e320s and are more comfortable. I dont know if thats true. Have never been on a e320!
(And the big secret? I’ve never been on even a single bit of HS1!)
PS had to add the following tweet at short notice (its a refurbished 373 sorry! Haven’t got anything against the e300s. Just wanted this post to be about the original stuff as much as possible!)
There’s a lot to be said for using articulated bogies. Its smoother!
Interiror view of one of the old unrefurbished 373s. Source: Twitter
Another 1994 seating style picture to whet your appetite! Source: Twitter
3217 – one of two unrefurb TMSTs left (down from three this summer) at Brussels. Source: Twitter
3214 seen at Ashford International in early October 2019. Source: Twitter
The case of the last units to operate in the old Eurostar livery (as well as being unrefurbished) seems to be something of a mystery. At the time of writing its said just one unit is still active however it seemed to me there were in fact two.
Eurostar Manager Jo cleared up the mystery via a tweet to me on 11th November. He says: 3214 and 3223 are a so called hybrid and form 1 train. 3213 and 3224 form the @izy_en train. 3317&3218 has disappeared off the radar for a few weeks now.
It seems from this the units for the Eurostar and the Izy have been swapped round. I dont know why this has been done. Perhaps 3213 and 3224 combined were constituted as a more reliable unit in the longer term as the Izy unit will be in use for quite a good while yet. Clearly the same cant be said for 3214 and 3223 which will be withdrawn as 2019 draws to a close.
The E320s are generally not stopping at Ashford just yet until the work has been completed to upgrade the station. The E300’s are used there however if there are not sufficient units then it falls to the old TMST’s to cover the duties.
The problems relate to signalling issues and power problems. These were not an issue for the original Eurostars as these ran on the third rail system and so were completely compatible with the old order. Network Rail has been working to upgrade the lines and signalling and thus ensure the E320s can easily use Ashford.
By that time it will then mean the last unrefurb 373 will be withdrawn. Sad!
Its thanks to all the Eurostar train staff and drivers, without whose tweets this post (and past ones) would have not been possible. Full credit to them including Eurostar George, Eurostar Jo, Eurostar Nev & Justin on Eurostar 🙂
And thanks to me too for taking the trouble to collate the stuff together so others could enjoy Eurostar’s interesting history 🙂
Here’s to another 25 years of Eurostar!