60 Facts About Eurostar


Eurostar is an international high-speed rail service connecting the United Kingdom with France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

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The LGV Nord high-speed line in France opened before Eurostar services began in 1994, and newer lines enabling faster journeys were added later: HSL 1 in Belgium and High Speed 1 in south-east England.

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In December 2021, Eurostar said it intended to move its administrative activities from London to Brussels as part of a forthcoming merger with Thalys which was approved in March 2022, citing problems with doing business in the UK and stating that being based in an EU country would make expansion and development easier.

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On 14 November 1994, Eurostar services began running from London Waterloo International station in London, to Paris Gare du Nord in Paris, and Brussels-South railway station in Brussels.

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On 8 January 1996, Eurostar launched services from a second railway station in the UK when Ashford International was opened.

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Also in 1996, Eurostar commenced its year-round service to Disneyland with the first train running on 29 June.

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Channel Tunnel used by Eurostar services holds the record for having the longest underwater section of any tunnel in the world, and it is the third-longest railway tunnel in the world.

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Original proposals for Eurostar included direct services to Paris and Brussels from cities north of London: Manchester Piccadilly via Birmingham New Street on the West Coast Main Line and Leeds and Glasgow Central via Edinburgh Waverley, Newcastle and York on the East Coast Main Line.

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Three of the Regional Eurostar units were leased by Great North Eastern Railway to increase domestic services from London King's Cross to York and later Leeds.

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However, after a period during which no Brussels trains served the station, to the dissatisfaction of the local communities, Eurostar reintroduced a single daily Ashford–Brussels service on 23 February 2009.

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In 2015, Eurostar threatened to require that cyclists take apart bicycles before they could be transported on the trains.

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In September 2020, the merger between Thalys and Eurostar International was confirmed, a year after Thalys announced its intention to merge with the cross-Channel provider subject to gaining European Commission clearance, to form "Green Speed".

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Eurostar is intending to merge with Thalys administratively, combining ticket sales in a single system.

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Eurostar's appeal included granting the company access to Bank of England-backed loans and a temporary reduction in track access charges for use of the UK's high-speed rail line.

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In March 2020, Eurostar placed all of their Class 373 or E300 into storage due to reduced operations.

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Until the opening on 2 June 1996, of the first phase of the Belgian high speed line, Eurostar trains were routed via the Belgian railway line 94.

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Eurostar offers up to fifteen weekday LondonParis services including nine non-stop .

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In February 2018, Eurostar announced the start of its long-planned service from London to Amsterdam, with an initial two trains per day from April of that year running between St Pancras and Amsterdam Centraal.

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Eurostar's fares were significantly higher in its early years; the cheapest fare in 1994 was £99 return.

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In 2002, Eurostar was planning cheaper fares, an example of which was an offer of £50-day returns from London to Paris or Brussels.

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Competition between Eurostar and airline services was a large factor in ticket prices being reduced from the initial levels.

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In 2009, Eurostar greatly increased its budget ticket availability to help maintain and grow its dominant market share.

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Eurostar is a member of the Amadeus CRS distribution system, making its tickets available alongside those of airlines worldwide.

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Eurostar has two sub-classes of first class: Standard Premier and Business Premier; benefits include guaranteed faster checking-in and meals served at-seat, as well as the improved furnishings and interior of carriages.

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The rebranding is part of Eurostar's marketing drive to attract more business professionals.

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Eurostar has announced several partnerships with other rail services, most notably Thalys connections at Lille and Brussels for passengers to go beyond current Eurostar routes towards the Netherlands and Germany.

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In 2002, Eurostar initiated the Eurostar-Plus program, offering connecting tickets for onward journeys from Lille and Paris to dozens of destinations in France.

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In May 2019, Eurostar ended its agreement with Deutsche Bahn that allowed passengers to travel by train from the UK to Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

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Eurostar passengers travelling within the Schengen area on trains towards London bypass border checks, and enter the preallocated cars at the rear of the train, which are reserved for these passengers.

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On 30 June 2009 Eurostar raised concerns at the UK House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee that it was illegal under French law to collect the information required by the UK government under the e-Borders scheme, and the company would be unable to cooperate.

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An advantage held by Eurostar is the convenience and speed of the service: with shorter check-in times than at most airports and hence quicker boarding and less queueing and high punctuality, it takes less time to travel between central London and central Paris by high-speed rail than by air.

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Eurostar now has a dominant share of the combined rail–air market on its routes to Paris and Brussels.

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Eurostar cited several factors to support this objective, such as improved journey times, punctuality and station facilities.

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Eurostar has been hailed as having set new standards in international rail travel and has won praise several times over for its high standards.

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However, Eurostar had previously struggled with its reputation and brand image.

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In June 2003, Eurostar was battling to recover from the worst period in its 10-year history.

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Eurostar was finding it difficult to pick itself up from one of the worst periods in its decade-long history.

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Eurostar won the Train Operator of the Year award in the HSBC Rail Awards for 2005.

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Eurostar's target was to reduce emissions by 35 percent per passenger journey by 2012, putting itself beyond the efforts of other railway companies in this field and thereby winning the 2007 Network Rail Efficiency Award.

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Eurostar funded three renewable energy projects in developing regions around the world: a windfarm in Tamil Nadu, India; a micro-hydropower project in China; and a plan specifying improvements on fuel consumption of three-wheeler taxis in Indonesia.

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In 2019, Eurostar removed all single-use plastics from its trains between London and Paris.

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Eurostar is a member of Railteam, a marketing alliance formed in July 2007 of seven European high-speed rail operators.

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Eurostar is not permitted to carry passengers on journeys within a country, so passengers cannot travel from Lille to Marne-la-Vallee–Chessy, London to Ashford, or Rotterdam to Amsterdam.

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The Eurostar logos were removed from these sets, but the base colours of white, black, and yellow remained.

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In 2008, Eurostar announced that it would be carrying out a mid-life refurbishment of its Class 373 trains to allow the fleet to remain in service beyond 2020.

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On 11 May 2009 Eurostar revealed the new look for its first-class compartments.

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On 13 November 2014 Eurostar announced the first refurbished trains would not re-enter the fleet until the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2015 due to delays at the completion centre.

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On 7 October 2010, it was reported that Eurostar had selected Siemens as preferred bidder to supply 10 Siemens Velaro e320 trainsets at a cost of €600 million to operate an expanded route network, including services from London to Cologne and Amsterdam.

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Alstom attempted legal action to prevent Eurostar from acquiring German-built trains, claiming that the Siemens sets ordered would breach Channel Tunnel safety rules, but this was thrown out of court.

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On 13 November 2014 Eurostar announced the purchase of an additional seven e320s for delivery in the second half of 2016.

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All Eurostar services were cancelled from Saturday 19 December to Monday 21 December 2009.

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Eurostar Trains were suspended that day with thousands of passengers stranded in the run up to Christmas.

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However, in 2013, Eurostar claimed that its 'business would be hit' by stopping trains there.

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Eurostar has already been involved in reviewing and publishing reports into High Speed 2 for the British Government and looks favourably upon such an undertaking.

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At present Eurostar is concentrating on developing its connections with other services, but direct services to other destinations would be possible.

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In December 2012 Eurostar announced that on Saturdays during May 2013–June 2013 a new seasonal service would be introduced to Aix-en-Provence, serving Lyon-Part-Dieu and Avignon TGV on the way .

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Winter service ended in November 2017, meaning that - from 2018 - these services ran only from May to September, with connections during the rest of the year being offered via Eurostar, but requiring a change to SNCF trains in Paris or Lille.

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In September 2013, Eurostar announced an agreement with the Government of Netherlands and NS, the Dutch railway company, to start twice daily services between London and Amsterdam Centraal; the launch was initially planned for December 2016.

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Eurostar have indicated that the calling pattern 'is not set in stone' and if a business case supports it the service might be extended to additional cities such as Utrecht.

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Eurostar stated that the new journey time to London was 4 hr 9 min from Amsterdam, and 3 hr 29 min from Rotterdam.

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