15 Nov 2004
- Turner-Prize nominated artists turn Eurostar into a "floating work of art"
- Eurostar power car becomes latest London tourist attraction
- Thousands see Eurostar train on River Thames
- Unique artwork created to mark Eurostar's 10th birthday
Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service that links the Olympic bidding cities London and Paris, today celebrated its 10th birthday with a unique ceremony on the River Thames.
To commemorate a decade of carrying 59 million passengers between London, Paris and Brussels, a Eurostar train was floated to the heart of the city – along the River Thames and under Tower Bridge. The Eurostar will remain moored next to HMS Belfast until Tuesday lunchtime. No train has ever walked on water in such a way.
The train was transformed into a unique artwork, created for the ceremony by the Turner-Prize nominees Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell. The artwork – entitled "Language of Places" – shows Eurostar as a living link between many of the European cities that you can connect to via Eurostar and other European rail services, and demonstrates how Eurostar has become a hub for European travel.
The artists have been collaborating since 1978 and exhibiting internationally since the 1980s, across Europe, America and the Far East. Known for examining our experience of architecture and our primarily urban culture at many different levels, Langlands & Bell explore the complex web of relationships linking people and architecture, and the coded systems of circulation and exchange which surround us.
Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell commented: "Language of Places on Eurostar is a constellation of Europe's urban centres evoking a changing sense of place, space, time, movement, speed and light. The artwork is a poetry of places where points of arrival offer departures into the imaginary. Human activity is explored through the places and structures we inhabit, and the routes that penetrate and link them."
Paul Charles, Director of Communications, Eurostar said: "To celebrate our successful 10 years of carrying passengers between the UK, France and Belgium, we wanted to create something memorable. With the help of renowned artists Langlands & Bell, we have brought a unique work of art to the River Thames, making Eurostar London's latest tourist attraction."
The ceremony was made possible with the support of Visit London, the tourist body for London. Its Chief Executive, David Campbell, added: "Eurostar has been a key link between London and other parts of Europe for ten years and we're delighted to see it become one of London's latest tourist attractions in this unique way. Events like this help to showcase London as a surprising and innovative city to many thousands of visitors."
Eurostar was 10 years old on 14th November 2004. The celebrations follow the unveiling of record market share and passenger numbers. Eurostar carried 6,046 million passengers in the 10 months to the end of October, up 16.2% on the year before (5,203 million). Market share on the London-Paris route is now 68% and 63% on the London-Brussels route – the highest in Eurostar's history.
1. Eurostar is the fast train service linking London, Ashford, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Avignon, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris and the French Alps.
2. Eurostar was named "Train Operator of the Year" at the National Rail Awards 2004; "World's Leading Rail Service" in the 2003 World Travel Awards; "Best Rail Network" at the Business Travel World Awards 2004 and "Best Rail Operator" at the Travel Weekly Globe Awards 2004.
3. To book tickets for Eurostar, or to find out more information, go to www.eurostar.com , call 08705 186186 or contact your travel agent.
4. Artists Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell live and work in London. They have been shortlisted for the 2004 Turner Prize, currently showing at Tate Britain until 23rd December 2004. They are also exhibiting at Alan Cristea Gallery, 31 Cork Street, London W1 until 21st November 2004.
5. Eurostar Power Car made in Belfort, Eastern France by GEC Alsthom (now Alstom).