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New Eurostar Class 374 trains coming to Ashford International from January

Eurostar's new trains are finally able to stop at Ashford after a solution was found to a complex technical fault.

Following the introduction of a new signalling system in March 2018, it was expected the Class 374 locomotives would be able to journey through Ashford International.

Bosses have resolved the Eurostar technical issue. Picture: Chris Davey
Bosses have resolved the Eurostar technical issue. Picture: Chris Davey

But a year-and-a-half effort was needed to solve power spikes that occurred when the track switched from AC to DC current - surges that damaged equipment on the Class 374s.

Earlier this month, the solution - a contactor and train detection system - was successfully tested and signed off by the Eurostar team.

Following this trial, the new style of train will be travelling through Ashford in January, and the transport company is re-introducing a third daily service to Paris and a service through Lille and Brussels from May 17.

The progress was discussed at a Joint Transportation Board meeting last Tuesday, where KCC's rail project manager Stephen Gasche said: "We're delighted to say the project is completed.

"We started it in 2012 in terms of the timetable services, and it'll continue for now with two services to Paris and one to Brussels."

The new trains would suffer a power surge as they entered Ashford International Station. Picture: Gary Browne
The new trains would suffer a power surge as they entered Ashford International Station. Picture: Gary Browne

Mr Gasche noted that an additional train to Brussels each day could be added and also stated: "There's already a service to Amsterdam but that doesn't come through Kent at all.

"But we're now looking to do that in the future."

During the meeting, Ashford councillors praised the efforts of a number of parties to get to this point.

Council deputy leader Paul Bartlett said: "Well done to the team that's been working on this for eight years.

"Now that it's finished, it's an enormous credit to the team to bring this back in. A massive well done."

Andrew Osborne, ABC's economic development manager, also said: "One of the main criticisms from businesses is the timing of trains.

"We've been having discussions as to when the trains will be coming in and out. That'll be an additional benefit."

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