1 February 2016

President of Insitution of Mechanical Engineers visits Eurostar’s London depot

  • Eurostar apprentices lead tour of state-of-the art engineering centre
  • Special presentation for Louis Searle, Eurostar’s longest serving 79 year-old engineer
Richard Folkson, President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, made his first visit to Eurostar’s state of the art depot – Temple Mills - in Leyton, East London on Friday.
Led by Eurostar’s apprentices, the President was offered a guided tour of the site where the high-speed rail operator maintains its fleet of 27 trains. Temple Mills spans over 38 acres and houses eight 400-metre tracks in the main shed, making it one of the largest of its kind in the UK. The Institution’s President was also able to take in the newly renovated area dedicated to maintaining Eurostar’s new e320 trains, which started commercial service in November last year.
Alongside the Eurostar apprentices, a group of students from the Leigh UTC joined the visit. Eurostar has supported the university technical college since 2012, as part of its commitment to encourage and develop future engineers.  Eurostar’s successful engineering apprenticeship scheme has been running for the last 18 years, and sees a very high demand for the six new roles made available every year. Apprentices are able to work alongside experienced engineers, and gain an in depth insight into the complexities of maintaining the UK’s only fleet of international high-speed trains.
While Eurostar actively nurtures new talent, there are many members of staff who have been with the company from its conception, 25 years ago. One of those is 79-year old Louis Searle who was presented with a certificate during the visit to celebrate 55 years in the railway industry. Louis is Eurostar’s Chief Mechanical Engineer, and as he approaches his eightieth birthday his enthusiasm for the railway remains, as he provides an incredible inspiration to young men and women starting their careers in this rapidly growing world-wide industry.
Richard Folkson, President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said : “I am delighted to be able to witness first-hand the fantastic training and development at Eurostar, as well as the company’s impressive state-of-the-art facilities. This illustrates the amazing opportunities a career in engineering can offer. I’m also looking forward to hearing from Louis Searle about the huge changes seen in the UK railway industry in the past 55 years.”
Andrew Slater, Director of Rolling stock at Eurostar, said: “We are delighted to welcome Richard to Temple Mills today, and share with him the successes of both our experienced and new apprentice engineers. We rely on a highly skilled workforce to maintain our complex fleet of trains, and to deliver the high levels of reliability our customers expect. We’re committed to continuing to nurture new engineering talent to take our business forward, through our own apprenticeship scheme and partnerships with local education providers. “

The Eurostar apprentice scheme is just one of many initiatives Eurostar has in place as part of its community and environment programme. For more information visit http://www.eurostar-csr.com/en/

Notes to Editors
For more information and images please contact the Eurostar press office:
020 7843 5500
About Eurostar
  1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
  2. The current Eurostar train was first introduced into service in 1994 carrying 750 passengers and operating at speeds of up to 300kph.  Since then, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 150 million passengers between London and the Continent.  Following their refurbishment these trains will continue to form a core part of the Eurostar fleet. The new e320 will carry around 900 passengers at speeds of up to 320kph.
  3. Eurostar was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR. LCR’s holding was transferred to the Treasury in 2014, and sold by the UK government to a consortium comprising Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure on 28th May 2015.
  4. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe’s leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
  5. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies.  Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel’s biggest customer.
About the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was established in 1847 and has some of the world's greatest engineers in its history books. It is one of the fastest growing professional engineering institutions. Headquartered in London, we have operations around the world and over 113,000 members in more than 140 countries working at the heart of the most important and dynamic industries such as the automotive, rail, aerospace, medical, power and construction industries. www.imeche.org