A network of high speed rail connections between London and the Continent has been unveiled as the first German high speed train travelled through the Channel Tunnel.

The ICE train was welcomed at London’s St. Pancras station by German and British officials.

Ruediger Grube, head of German rail firm Deutsche Bahn, said: “We feel that rail transport in Europe stands on the threshold of a new age.”

He announced a timetable of trains connecting the capital with major European cities.

“Three trains a day – in the morning, afternoon and evening – will connect Frankfurt and London via Cologne, Brussels and Lille in both directions,” said Grube.
“For the first time, we want to link Amsterdam directly with London.”

He estimated that it would take five hours to travel from Frankfurt to London and four hours from Amsterdam.

The German operator wants to demonstrate its ability to run safely through the Channel tunnel, which is being opened up to competition under European Union rules.