Eurostar, the Channel tunnel high-speed rail service, is keeping to its plans new, direct services between London and Amsterdam — even though its other routes have suffered a decline in numbers each year for the last decade
Eurostar which is controlled by the French state-owned railway SNCF, in conjunction with two infrastructure funds and Belgium’s national rail service — said that it is keeping to its plans with the new launch year,with its main aim to compete with the 3million annual air passengers that travel between the two capitals annually
It comes as a surprise as Eurostar’s results have not made for good reading .Already major airline reported poor travel conditions within Europe while Eurostar’s trading is down ten percent .
The one major positive is that the weak pound is attracting alot more visitors to the UK.
“With the weakening of the pound, the UK is proving to be an attractive destination,” Mr Petrovic said. “The outlook to the end of the year is encouraging, with many travellers taking day trips to London to do their Christmas shopping.”
Eurostar has been seeking to introduce a direct service from London to Amsterdam for more than a decade. But the effort has faced significant barriers, including the challenges of equipping its trains to work with the Netherlands’ distinctive signalling and electrification systems, and the different signalling used on its HSL-Zuid high-speed rail line.
There are also questions about how Eurostar will manage the tight security required for trains using the Channel tunnel at stations between Brussels and Amsterdam.
Mr Petrovic said that, over the coming months, Eurostar was making a “major investment” in its fleet, service and stations to equip the business for expansion.
It has bought new trains from Germany’s Siemens that can readily run to Amsterdam, as significant conversion work would have been required on its older stock.
Eurostar services to Amsterdam are most likely to start at the annual pan-European rail timetable change in December 2017.
“The launch of our Amsterdam route at the end of next year marks a key milestone and represents a significant growth opportunity for the future,” Mr Petrovic said.