October 14, 2010 / 2:32 PM / 10 years ago

France says Eurostar's Siemens train deal invalid

PARIS, Oct 14 (Reuters) - France has stepped up its opposition to Eurostar’s decision to buy trains from Germany’s Siemens (SIEGn.DE) instead of long-time French supplier Alstom (ALSO.PA), citing safety concerns.

“The decision Eurostar took is null and void,” French Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau said on LCI television on Thursday. He said the Siemens trains were not long enough and presented safety risks, notably in the event of a fire.

A row erupted last week after Eurostar, which operates passenger services between London, Paris and Brussels, said Siemens would supply 10 next-generation high-speed trains as part of a 700 million pound ($1.12 billion) fleet investment. [ID:nLDE6960E7]

Siemens declined to comment.

“Since the beginning we have told the management of Eurotunnel GETH.PA, which manages the tunnel, and Eurostar, which operates it ... that material other than Alstom material cannot be used,” Bussereau said. (Reporting by Yves Clarisse and Jonathan Gould in Frankfurt; Writing by Helen Massy-Beresford; Editing by Will Waterman)

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