Eurostar has signed an agreement to launch direct services between London and Amsterdam from December 2016.
It said in a statement: ‘Since becoming a standalone corporate entity in September 2010, Eurostar has had clear ambitions to expand its business beyond its existing destinations and to encourage passengers to choose high speed rail over plane for short haul European travel.’
In the past year, Eurostar has introduced new services to the Swiss Alps and Provence in the South of France, and said this latest announcement ‘represents a significant step forward in its expansion plans’.
The London–Amsterdam route is the largest, international airline market in Europe attracting more than 3m business and leisure passengers.
‘With the arrival of a direct high-speed rail service between the UK and the Netherlands, passengers can look forward to an attractive, convenient alternative to the airlines,’ said Eurostar.
It plans to run two services a day between London and Amsterdam with journey times of around four hours. These services will run via Brussels to Amsterdam stopping at Antwerp, Rotterdam, Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam Centraal.
Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive of Eurostar, said: ‘We have long been ambitious for expansion to new destinations so today’s announcement marks a major advance in our growth plans.
‘Our fast, comfortable, point-to-point service will greatly enhance the links between the UK and the near continent, revolutionising travel between these important financial and tourist hubs.’
Meanwhile, Eurostar is bidding to run a newly-privatised East Coast Main Line, reports the BBC.
It said the Channel Tunnel company is to launch a joint bid with French company Keolis to operate the London to Scotland rail route.
It has been run by the government since 2009, when National Express handed back the franchise mid-term.
To see the Eurostar Amsterdam announcement, click here.
To see the BBC article on the East Coast Line, click here.