Eurostar adds more high-speed services to Europe

Eurostar, the high-speed rail link between the UK and mainland Europe, announced on Thursday August 19 that it is adding more trains between the UK and the continent in response to growing demand following the removal of quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers from France to the UK and the easing of restrictions for travel to Belgium and the Netherlands.

During August, Eurostar has seen double the amount of bookings, and has added 39 trains for travel between the UK and the continent this month alone. The busiest days for travel are between August 27 and 30, with Paris the most popular destination from the UK.

Since the easing of travel restrictions by the UK government in August, the high-speed rail operator has seen the gradual return of the weekend break, with a 105 percent rise in August and September weekend trips between London and Paris, compared to the same period last year and 83 percent of bookings attributed to leisure travel or visiting friends and family.

From September 6 until November 1, eight daily return services will operate, with five in each direction on the London to Paris route and three in each direction between London and Brussels, with one each way extended to Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The expanded timetable is claimed to offer improved flexibility to both business and leisure travellers with fares from GBP39 each way.

The company says that travellers can book with confidence knowing that all tickets are flexible with no exchange fee up to 7 days before departure, offering peace of mind should travel restrictions or plans change. Eurostar adds that it has introduced new measures to keep passengers safe, with trains deep cleaned before every journey, and cleaning teams on board to regularly disinfect high contact areas. All travellers must wear a mask on board and in stations, this continues to apply after check-in at London St Pancras.

Eurostar claims to offer the most environmentally friendly choice for travel to Europe, with each journey using up to 93 percent less CO2 than the equivalent flight.

Eurostar reports 2014 growth in revenue and passenger numbers, new e320 trains in service this year

Eurostar, the high-speed railway service that connects the UK with mainland Europe via the Channel Tunnel, has today reported growth in both revenue and passenger numbers for 2014.

For its 20th anniversary of operation, the company has reported year-on-year growth of three percent in passenger numbers, while business travel increased by four percent year-on year. Eurostar also announced its new e320 trains during 2014, and they will be entering service by the end of the year.

Last year 10.4 million passengers travelled on Eurostar, taking the company’s total passenger number since the start of services in 1994 to over 150 million. 2014 sales revenues increased by one percent, to GBP867 million.

Eurostar stated that this performance was underpinned, in particular, by the strong recovery in the UK economy, which also led to an increase in business travel bookings throughout the year.

In 2014, Eurostar also unveiled its state of the art new e320 train at St Pancras International station. With the e320 due to enter commercial service at the end of this year, the company says that passengers can look forward to an unparalleled level of style, comfort and service.

Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive of Eurostar, said: ‘2014 was a pivotal year for our business as we celebrated our 20th anniversary and unveiled our new fleet. Our new e320 trains are now in the final months of testing and on schedule to come into commercial service at the end of this year. As we introduce new trains, upgrade our stations and invest in our service, passengers can look forward to a complete transformation of their travel experience.’

 

Eurostar to launch direct London – Amsterdam train service by late 2016

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.

Eurostar’s new trains delayed

Eurostar, a high-speed railway service that connects London with Paris and Brussels, will not be receiving the new trains that it has on order by the expected delivery date.

The trains are in the process of being manufactured by German engineering group Siemans, but delays in the process mean that the first delivery of 10 Velaro trains will not now be met before the end of 2014 as originally promised. Instead, delivery is more likely to be some time during the first few months of 2015.

In a statement reported by the Financial Times, Eurostar said, ‘We are still expecting delivery of most of the trainsets during 2015. It is fair to say there are still a number of technical issues but we are happy with the way the programme is progressing.’

The contract to build the trains is worth €700 million, and Eurostar awarded it to Siemans after tenders had been received in 2010. Although the first delivery date is now unlikely to be met, Siemans is still reported to be making steady progress with the build, and six trains are apparently at the testing stage.

In an acceptance of responsibility for the delay, Siemens’ head of infrastructure and cities division, Roland Busch, reportedly told German daily newspaper, Suddeutsche Zeitung, ‘I admit we underestimated the complexity of the contract. The European railway control systems are like an old rag rug that we manufacturers are expected to turn into a Persian carpet.’

The Eurostar service has operated since 1994 and has 18 coach-class trains that operate at up to 186 mph on a network of high-speed lines.

Eurostar receives food award

Eurostar, a high-speed railway service that connects London with the cities of Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel, has announced that it has won a sustainability award for its on-board catering.

The company has received Sustainable Restaurant Association accreditation as a One-Star Sustainability Champion. The award has been made for Eurostar’s commitment to sourcing local ingredients that have been produced in a sustainable manner, and for pursuing a socially and environmentally responsible approach. Eurostar is the first transport operator to receive the award, and it follows the company’s decision to partner with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) in 2010.

The award is partly a reflection of Eurostar’s Tread Lightly programme, the banner under which the company commits to cut its overall environmental impact and reduce its CO2 footprint. The main tenets of the initiative are a reduction in wastage, the intention to source supplies responsibly and the adoption of a recycling mentality throughout the company.

Commenting on the award, the head of Environment and Energy for Eurostar, Peter Bragg, said, ‘We share the SRA’s commitment to promoting locally sourced and sustainably produced ingredients and we were delighted to be the first transport provider to partner with their organisation. We are very proud of our One-Star Sustainability Champion rating and the work we’ve carried out to achieve it. Our customers increasingly care about the provenance of the food they eat and by working closely with our suppliers, we are continually improving our sustainability practices. We don’t just talk about policies and practices, we do everything we can to deliver them.’

Eurostar Stops Ticket Sales for Amsterdam Route

Eurostar International, a UK-based high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, has announced the suspension of its ticket sales for the London to Amsterdam, via Brussels, route.

Previously, Eurostar passengers were travelling to Brussels Midi and switching to high-speed Thalys or regular trains for the final journey to Amsterdam. In December 2012, the company launched the new Fyra service to replace the earlier slower trains, which has created a problem with the company’s ticketing system. Following this the company has decide to temporarily suspend selling tickets to Amsterdam, or any Dutch destination, through its website.

A Eurostar spokesperson said, ‘We are currently in discussion with both Thalys and Fyra regarding arrangements for travel between London, Amsterdam and beyond into the Netherlands. We hope to be able to offer an update on arrangements in the near future.

In the interim, our advice to passengers is to book tickets for travel between London and the Netherlands via Rail Europe.’

The company is also offering a twelve-day express sale until January 14 this year, for travel from January 17, to March 27, 2013. Around 150,000 seats are available for London to Paris, Brussels or Lille. Fares commence from £159 return for Standard Premier travel, with more space and meals included. Travel from London to any Belgian destination is available from £69 return in standard class.

Mary Walsh, the company director of communications for Eurostar, said, ‘We’re encouraging people to start the New Year in style with a great value city escape to Paris, Lille or Brussels. With our lowest fares available for travel up until late March, there is ample opportunity for passengers to indulge in a mini break on the Continent next year.’

Eurostar Announces Seasonal Bargain Fares to Continental Europe

Eurostar International, a UK-based high-speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, is offering a 12-day Express Sale from January 3, 2012.

The company has announced a bargain price of £59 return fare from London St Pancras to the continental Europe destinations of Paris, Brussels or Lille. The train company is offering around 150,000 seats to those travelling between January 17 and March 27, 2013.

Eurostar is also offering return travel from London to any Belgian station, commencing from £69 in standard class. The Eurostar Plus offer is available for those travelling to Paris and Brussels from London, and it includes two admissions for the price of one to many of the cities’ popular museums and galleries.

The company has previously reported a surge in bookings to France, Belgium and Switzerland from across the UK, until January 3, 2013, due to the festive season.

December 21 and 22, 2012, have been the busiest days for departures, according to the company, as the period also marked the commencement of Eurostar’s French and Swiss ski services. The weekly services are running until April 13, 2013 to the popular French ski towns of Moutiers, Aime-La-Plagne and Bourg St Maurice, with return fares commencing from £149 per person.

The new Swiss ski service offers to transport ski and snowboarding enthusiasts from St Pancras International and Ashford International to the Swiss Alps and the Valais region resorts, including Verbier, Zermatt, Saas Fee and Gstaad. The company will also be carrying ski and snowboarding gear free of charge.

Eurostar is launching a new weekly spring service for a trial period during May and June 2013, from London and Ashford to three popular holiday destinations in the South of France; Lyon, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. Tickets are on sale along with tickets for an existing weekly summer service to Avignon.

Eurostar reveals details of new e320 trains

Eurostar International Ltd, the company that operates high-speed passenger trains between London and the European mainland, via the Channel Tunnel, has released a video to provide prospective passengers with a first glimpse of the new trains that will be carrying them from 2014.

The new Valaro e320 trains are being built as part of a £700m investment in Eurostar’s fleet that will also see an extensive refurbishment of existing trains.

The video shows one of the new trains taking shape in the factory, currently in the form of an impressive, polished metal carcass. Designed by Italian design studio, Pininfarina, the company is having ten of the e320’s built at an estimated cost of €6bn, with the balance of the £700m investment being spent on refurbishment.

With the ability to haul 16 passenger cars, the trains will be 400-metres (1,312 ft) long. They will have a top speed of 320 km/h (199 mph) and provide 894-950 seats, exceeding the current Eurostar fleet, which has a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) and seating capacity of 750.

Eurostar CEO, Nicolas Petrovic, said: ‘The redesign and upgrading of our fleet marks the next phase of our business. With customers increasingly opting for rail over plane for short-haul journeys across Europe, we want to provide an unrivalled travel experience between the UK and the continent and to encourage more passengers to choose high speed rail as their preferred option.’

The trains will operate an expanded route network, including services from London to Cologne and Amsterdam, and Eurostar is on schedule to complete the transformation of its entire fleet by 2015.

The video can be viewed at http://the10group.isebox.net/eurostar/eurostar-reveals-new-trains-web-video-and-images/

Eurostar Sees Boost From Olympic Traffic

Eurostar International, a UK-based high-speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, has reported a good performance for its third financial quarter of 2012, riding high on the recent 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

While passenger numbers remained flat year-on-year at 2.6 million during the third quarter of 2012, the London Games affected travel patterns. Passenger numbers for the Olympic and Paralympic periods have gone up by 4 percent, although the number of leisure travellers visiting London in July 2012 had been lower than the preceding year.

The company has reported a drop in sales revenues of 5 percent for the 2012 third quarter when compared to the same period in 2011, from £197 million to £188 million.

Eurostar chief executive officer, Nicolas Petrovic, said, ‘We have had an inspiring and rewarding summer bringing athletes and spectators from around the world to the Olympic Games.

While many corporate clients and business customers decided to steer clear of London during the Games, we nonetheless delivered a solid performance.

Looking ahead to the end of the year, the outlook is strong.

The redesign and upgrading of our fleet marks the next phase of our business.

With customers increasingly opting for rail over plane for short-haul journeys across Europe, we want to provide an unrivalled travel experience between the UK and the continent and to encourage more passengers to choose high speed rail as their preferred option.’

For the 2012 year to date, passenger numbers are up to 7.4 million from around 7.3 million in 2011, with sales revenues decreased by 1 percent to £612 million for this year, from £619 million in 2011.

Eurostar Schedule Affected by Strike Action

Eurostar International, a UK-based high-speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, has reported that its service to Brussels will be hampered by strike action called by workers in Belgium.

The train operator is likely to cancel its services from London to Brussels between 21.00 hours on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, and 21.00 hours on Wednesday, October 3, 2012, due to the impending industrial action.

The company statement said, ‘During this period of industrial action, Eurostar services to and from Brussels will terminate and commence at Lille Europe station.

Eurostar strongly recommends that all passengers travelling to or from Brussels on Wednesday, October 3, (or on the 19:04 hour departure from London on the October 2) should exchange their tickets for travel before or after. Eurostar will offer refunds or exchanges free of charge regardless of ticket conditions, but subject to availability on alternative services. Customers wishing to re-book their travel should contact their original point of sale, or Eurostar on one of the following numbers;

UK 08432 186 186

Belgium 02 40 06 731

Customers who are unable to travel and wish to refund their tickets should contact their original point of sale, this can be done any time in the next two months.’

For passengers from the UK travelling to or from Lille and other points in France, the company has issued an amended schedule for October 3, 2012. Ticket holders for the journey should consult the new schedule, which will be available on the company website for the entire week, to find out more about arrivals and departures for their route.

The company has reported that its schedule to and from Paris and Disneyland Paris will be running as usual during this week.