Recommend May 2016 - (Page 36)
The newest Eurostars
parked in London's St.
Among those of us who love to travel by
train, here's one American who continues
suffering from European rail envy. Hence,
there were many "greenish" moments during
a recent Rail Europe-hosted press trip to
introduce the e320: a.k.a. Eurostar's spiffy
and comfy newest high-speed train now on
track between London and Paris.
While it's just ongoing thrilling to be
aboard a train that tunnels under the English
Channel, equally exciting is experiencing all
the new stuff. To start, the e320s are faster,
quieter and more energy-efficient than their
predecessors. Part of this is due to new fuel
meters that help drivers monitor consumption
en-route. But practically speaking, these
upgrades come simply because of capacity:
e320s carry 894 passengers, boosting capacity
Hats Off To...
by 20 percent, or 150 more passengers than
the old trains; maximum speed is 200 mph,
or 320 kph, hence the name.
You don't need technical know-how to see
immediately that the new Eurostar trainset,
with its combination of bold design, chic
interiors and train-wide WiFi, raises the bar
in customer style and comfort. While the
trains were built by Siemens in Germany,
the super-sleek external livery and interiors
are courtesy of the Italian firm Pinifarina,
known for its work on luxury cars for Ferrari
and Maserati. There are three seating classes:
Standard, Standard Premier and Business
Premier. All seats have UK and Continental
power sockets, as well as reading lights,
while the Premier classes amenities include
seat-backs that recline twice as far as the
Rail Europe is the one-stop shop in North America for planning and booking European train
travel. Here's their pick for Europe's 10 Top Trains:
➣ Eurostar-City-center to city-center between London and Paris or Brussels; now also on
track between London and Marseille, and points in-between.
➣ Thalys-Journeys between Paris/Belgium/the Netherlands/Germany.
➣ TGV-From its Paris hub, zipping along its French network at speeds of up to 201 mph.
➣ Italo-From NTV (Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori), the first private operator of Italian
high-speed rail service, with trains traveling up to 186 mph on routes from
Venice-Rome and Milan-Salerno.
➣ La Frecce-Its Frecciarossa and Frecciargento trains are on track connecting Italian cities
at speeds of up to 186 mph; for instance Rome-Florence, 1h 18m; and Rome-Naples, 1h 8m.
➣ TGV Lyria-With redesigned interiors and new seating, this train is the FranceSwitzerland connection, with routes such as Geneva-Marseille and Paris-Lausanne.
➣ ICE-The Deutsche Bahn Inter-City Express train connects all major German
cities at speeds of up to 200 mph.
➣ AVE-For long-distance trips in Spain, the high-tech AVE is the way to go.
➣ France-Spain High-Speed-SNCF and RENFE have combined their experience to offer
the first high-speeds between 17 cities in France and Spain: trains to Paris have
double-decker cars and travel at almost 200 mph.
➣ Thello-Trains add sleeping compartments and couchette cars on overnight
travel between France and Italy.
36 may 2016
ergonomically designed seats in Standard.
Even the bar-buffets are sleekly designed,
serving hot/cold meals, and snacks; coffee,
too, received an upgrade with a new
machine for individual cups of cafe au lait
or cappuccino. Our group was fortunate to
ride in Business Premier, whose lunch menu
(accompanied by lovely wines) included
beetroot, pickled apple, goat cheese mousse;
duck, chicken, fennel and dill risotto; and
orange mousseline tart. This was just one of
many menus created by Eurostar's culinary
director Raymond Blanc, who won two
Michelin stars within a year of opening his
ongoing-famous Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
restaurant in Oxfordshire.
Certainly one of the most important e320
features is its "interoperability," which,
according to Rob Haycocks, Eurostar's
communications director in London, means
"the trains can operate across the European
high-speed network with its different
signaling systems, and provide direct services
between London and a range of cities
throughout the continent.
"Over the next three years, we'll be
receiving 17 trainsets of the e320 model, and
[among the first of future plans] we expect to
debut these trains on London-to-Amsterdam
service with stops in Antwerp, Rotterdam and
Schiphol Airport early next year."
Eurostar's second line, the Chunnel linking
the UK and Brussels, has had its own upgrade:
its Class 373 trains, dating from the launch
of Eurostar services in 1994, have been
totally remodeled and re-designed, including
the installation of Nomad Digital WiFi
equipment throughout; the trainsets have also
been rebranded e300, numbers designating
their maximum kph speed.
Rail Europe: raileurope.com/agent
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend May 2016
Hotel Desk: On the Waterfront
Tour Talk: A Peek at Our Peaks
All-Inclusives: Raising the Bar
Onsite Review: Puerto Vallarta’s Hotel Scene
Onsite Review: Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya
Onsite Review: Iberostar Playa Mita
Onsite Review: Moon Palace Jamaica Grande
Hotel and Experience Pairings
New Properties Beckon
Onsite Review: Cambodia
Southern Africa’s New Enticements
Onsite Review: Rail Europe
New Frontiers in Travel
Innovation on the High Seas
Mountain Resort Vacations
What’s New in Orlando
Onsite Review: Escape to Discovery Cove
Official Florida Travel Industry Education Program–Family Course
Recommend May 2016