Eurostar CEO lends weight to campaign to build a North-South UK High Speed line

9 Dec 2005

Richard Brown, Chief Executive of Eurostar, the high-speed train operator that links the UK with France and Belgium, will today call for the building of a north-south UK high-speed line.
Speaking in Glasgow, at a conference organised by The Railway Forum and the Scottish Association for Public Transport, Richard Brown will make the case for high-speed rail as an environmentally friendly form of transport, which also has the power to deliver regeneration by driving economic growth and development.
In his speech, Richard Brown will argue that a new high-speed line would link regional towns and cities in the north of England and Scotland with the UK's centre of economic prosperity in the south east of England. This would provide the incentive for businesses to relocate offices out of the south east and into the UK's regions.
Brown will hold up Lille and Lyon in France as examples of how economically depressed areas were regenerated by the arrival of a high-speed rail line. Lille was transformed from being a post-industrial city with high unemployment in the 1980s, to France's third most powerful financial, commercial and industrial centre in the 21st century following the arrival of the Eurostar, TGV and Thalys services in the 1990s. Lyon has also seen consistent economic growth and development following the opening of its direct TGV link to Paris in 1983.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive, Eurostar, said: "A north-south high-speed line would transform the UK: cutting journey times and encouraging leisure and business travel between the south east and the north of England and Scotland.
"New high-speed rail links act as a catalyst for growth and development, transforming traditional economic geography, and bringing people and places closer together.
"A UK high-speed line would provide urban regeneration and, crucially, protect the environment by encouraging travellers to switch from carbon dioxide producing short-haul flights onto environmentally friendly rail."
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Editor's Notes:
1. Eurostar is the fast train service linking London, Ashford, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Avignon, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris and the French Alps.
2. In 2007, with the completion of the UK high-speed line to London St Pancras, journey times will be reduced still further. London to Paris will be 2hrs 15mins, London to Brussels will be 1hr 51mins and London to Lille 1hr 20mins.
3. Eurostar was named "Train Operator of the Year" at the 2005 HSBC Rail Awards, "World's Leading Rail Service" every year since 1998 at the World Travel Awards and "Best Worldwide Rail Operator" at the 2005 Buying Business Travel Awards.
5. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are two entirely different companies with two different management teams. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's largest customer.
6. To book tickets for Eurostar, or to find out more information, go to www.eurostar.com, call 08705 186 186 or contact your travel agent.
For more information:
Eurostar Press Office,+44 (0) 20 7922 4494,press.office@eurostar.co.uk