There’s an interesting photo-article in Wired UK showing the refurbishment of one of the twenty year old original Eurostar sets at their depot in Lille.
What the article fails to mention is that only a handful of the original sets will be receiving this treatment; the rest are going for scrap, replaced by new Siemens e320s. I can understand the logic for fleet replacement at this stage when the old trains contain a lot of dated technology and replacements result in increased operating efficiency. But I can’t think of a precedent, in Britain at least, for major mid-life refurbishment of just a minority of a fleet.
There is presumably a perfectly good reason for this, but I haven’t seen it expressed anywhere.
According to Rail, Eurostar is to scrap the first class 373 Eurostar trains, with the first one due to make its final journey to Kingsbury in the West Mindland this week. The ones going for scrap are those which haven’t been refurbished.
It seems a waste to scrap to 186mph trains, but they’ve been replaced by more modern Velaro trains on Three Capitals services, and aren’t reeally suitable for cascading on to other work. While they still seem relatively new, their 22-year working life is the same as that of the Deltics from the east coast main line. Like the Eurostars, the Deltics were complex and sophisticated machines, built for one specific purpose and unsuitable for anything else once superceded.
It’s only the unrefurbished trains which are going for scrap, the refurbished members of the class 373 Eurostar fleet are likely to be around for a good few years yet.