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The new Eurostar trains: work in progress ?
Do you often travel between London and Paris via Eurostar? Then you must know that 2.15 hours can be very long, or not, depending on what you do. In the past few weeks, new trains have been connecting the two sides of the Channel with innovative services to help pass the time. However, we asked people what they thought of their journey, and the answers were not always positive...
New features for a better journey
Eurostar have proudly advertised their new trains. They have “worked closely with the designers to perfect every last detail”. Seats are now thinner, sockets have been added to every seat, as well as cup holders (absolutely necessary to enjoy a froffy cappuccino under the Channel).
Another big change is said to be free and unlimited wi-fi connection. Eurostar claim on their website that “by combining both the 3G and 4G mobile data signals wherever they can along the route, we’ll keep you connected as they speed across borders and timezones”.
Passengers can then use the connectivity to work or enjoy a film or an episode from one of their favourite series during their journey. Games are also available, as well as a special channel for children so they do not get bored during the trip.
Eurostar is very pleased with these new high-tech services, but travellers are not so convinced. Passengers comments would suggest that the Franco-British company has not got it quite right...yet.
The main issue is the disappointing wi-fi service. “I have never been able to get online” Sarah said. Justine, who frequently uses the Eurostar between London and Paris, claimed that “the speed was good... when there was a connection…” Sylvie is also not sure about the wi-fi signal as she had to give up trying to watch what she had intended because she was "not able to connect to the internet."
Some passengers have also criticised Eurostar for the uncomfortable seats and even prefer the current TGV trains. “The chairs are really cheap, almost entirely made of plastic.” Lucie regretted the lack of a table lip, “you need to have something around the table to prevent objects from sliding off the table as the train sometimes tilts.”
Others think that the film selection is limited, with only a dozen comedies and dramas. “Films and documentaries were only available in English, without any subtitles… Aren’t we travelling on a Franco-British train?” an angry passenger stated. “Eurostar need to get their act together," she continued.
Eurostar clearly had some good intentions behind the design of their new trains, but the preliminary view seems to be that translating these into practice has not quite worked out… Quel dommage !