On the 14th of November, Eurostar moved from London Waterloo to its new home at St Pancras International. The new station is served by a high speed rail line which will reduce journey times to Paris by 20 minutes.
During the early build stages, in February 2005, Camberley-based Linde Material Handling South East Ltd, together with over 19 other materials handling suppliers, were contacted by Eurostar to bid for the 29 truck requirement.
Despite this fierce competition, Linde offered a unique package of, not only materials handling equipment, but a complete solution tailored to meet all Eurostars requirements.
Linde worked together with other manufacturers to design baggage trolleys to be pulled by the tow tractors and even a lift which carries the order pickers from the loading bay on the lower ground floor up to the station platform.
Peter Risebrow, business manager (logistics) for Eurostar, commented: Linde offered us a complete logistics solution, not just a fleet of trucks. We wanted a one-stop-shop and Linde was able to provide this.
The new Linde fleet consists of five different truck types - all electric - performing a variety of tasks. This includes five N 20 low level order pickers adapted for baggage handling; a total of 18 tow tractors, comprising P 250s capable of towing 25 tonne and used for replenishing the trains with food and drink, as well as smaller capacity P 30s and P 60s, which handle containerised waste; three T 20 ? powered pallet trucks deliver food into low level preparation areas; two E 16? electric counterbalance trucks are used for unloading lorries; and an R 16? reach truck stores and retrieves loads in the warehouse. All the trucks have been supplied in the Eurostar acid yellow corporate colour.
The order pickers have all been clearly marked with names to make it easier to identify individual trucks and keep track of their work patterns to ensure battery charging is undertaken when necessary. The entire fleet has been fitted with maintenance-free gel batteries supplied by Bolton-based Exide Technologies Industrial Energy, who worked closely with Linde in order to ensure that battery and charging equipment was to optimum specification.
Fork truck operator training was also provided by Linde to ensure that all operators were familiar with the new fleet, which will provide support for up to 50 trains daily between London, Paris and Brussels.