Eurostar, a high-speed railway service presently connecting London with Paris and Brussels, has said that it will launch direct train services from London to Amsterdam in December 2016.
Under the plan, which follows an agreement with Dutch Railways, Eurostar will run two services a day, with a journey time of four hours via the Channel Tunnel. Trains starting from London will stop at Brussels and Antwerp in Belgium, and Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, before terminating at Amsterdam Central station, Bloomberg reported, citing an email statement by Eurostar.
With a four-hour journey and two services in each direction per day, the proposed plan will provide an alternative to air travel on the London-Amsterdam route, supposedly the busiest international airline market in Europe. Around three million people travel between London and Amsterdam each year, a combination of business and leisure passengers.
‘We have long been ambitious for expansion to new destinations so today’s announcement marks a major advance in our growth plans. With over three million passengers travelling by air between London and Amsterdam, this is one of Europe’s most popular routes,’ said Nicolas Petrovic, Eurostar’s chief executive.
Currently British travellers heading to Amsterdam with Eurostar must change trains in Brussels, and the journey takes almost five hours.
The expansion plan still requires Dutch parliamentary approval after a deal with the infrastructure ministry, Petrovic said. The service will see a new generation of 186 mph e320 trains ordered from Siemens AG.
The Telegraph has quoted Lucy Drake, senior press officer with Eurostar, as saying that while the train fare was yet to be determined, it would probably be in the range of £99 return – the current charge for the non-direct journey from London to Amsterdam.
‘We will compete with the low-cost airlines flying to Amsterdam and are sure this will be a very attractive alternative,’ Ms. Drake said.