• Journey times will be cut by an average 23-25 minutes
• Eurostar’s 100% high-speed track delivers faster, more reliable, less environmentally damaging alternative to flying
• Stunning new station with connections throughout UK
• Rail Europe reports 3rd quarter YTD North American sales up 25%
White Plains, NY, November 14, 2006 – Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train operator between the UK, France and Belgium, announced today that it will launch passenger services from St Pancras International Terminal in exactly one year’s time, on November 14, 2007.
Eurostar confirmed that it will move its London terminal overnight in order to minimize disruption to travelers, with the last services between Waterloo International and Paris/Brussels continuing until November 13, 2007.
The move to a new station in central London, served by the UK’s first 100% high-speed line, called High Speed 1, will cut journey times between London, Paris and Brussels by an average of 23-25 minutes. Currently, Eurostar travels on high-speed track for much of the journey in England, until just outside London when the trains revert to the existing rail track at much lower speeds.
Fastest travel times between the centers of London and Paris will shrink to just 2 hours 15 minutes and between London and Brussels to 1 hour 51 minutes.
Eurostar’s dedicated high-speed track, which will run between St Pancras International and the Channel Tunnel, means services will be even more reliable. Eurostar expects to further improve on its current punctuality of more than 90%, already significantly better than the airlines.
Eurostar travelers will have connections to seven mainline rail services at St Pancras, King’s Cross and nearby Euston stations, and six London Underground (subway) lines, providing links across the UK and making St Pancras International one of the foremost rail hubs in Europe, ideal for tourists heading for other UK destinations, such as Cambridge, Edinburgh or York.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said: “The completion of the high-speed line together with the move to St Pancras will be the most significant event in Eurostar’s history since we started running passenger services 12 years ago today. It will mark the start of a new era in travel between the UK and continental Europe, making high-speed rail an even faster, more reliable and less environmentally damaging alternative to flying.
“St Pancras International will be a stunning, newly restored historic station in the heart of London, with connections fanning out across the country. We will be competing head-on with regional airports, with comparable city center-to-city center journey times, much greater frequencies, and highly affordable through fares.”
Rail Europe’s Eurostar North American sales up 25%
Rail Europe, Eurostar’s official North American representative, reports 3rd quarter sales are up 25% over those for the same period in 2005, with October sales alone up 41% over the same month last year.
“While the general trend of North Americans traveling to Europe is up this year, we think that the increase in sales is due to travelers’ frustration with baggage restrictions and delays at airports, as well as the increased availablility and more simplified fare structure of Eurostar tickets,” commented Fabrice Morel, President and CEO of Rail Europe.
Environmental benefits of high-speed rail
Independent research commissioned by Eurostar has shown that flying between London and Paris or Brussels generates ten times more carbon dioxide emissions than taking Eurostar. A roundtrip flight produces enough CO2 to fill a double-decker bus, while a roundtrip by rail generates only enough CO2 to fill a Mini Cooper.
“Taking the train, not the plane, for travel within Europe is one of the key ways we can all reduce our impact on climate change. From St Pancras International, Eurostar will seamlessly connect into the high-speed rail network that is growing across Europe, which by 2008 will slash journey times between London and cities such as Amsterdam, Cologne and Strasbourg by between 20-30%,” said Brown.
Traveling at speeds up to 186 mph, Eurostar currently makes the London-Paris journey in 2 hrs 35 min, London-Brussels in 2 hrs 15 minutes on the fastest schedules. Fares start at just $89 US/$102 CAD roundtrip between London-Paris (or London-Brussels). More than 70 million travelers have ridden Eurostar since the launch of service in 1994.
For more information visit www.eurostar.com or contact Rail Europe, Eurostar’s official North American representative at www.raileurope.com or call 1-800-EUROSTAR (1-800-387-6782).