Eurostar gears up for big increase in services for kent

24 Jul 2007

--First tickets from Ebbsfleet international go on sale
--Sales at Eurostar's Bluewater shop reach £100,000
--New check-in gates at Ashford International
--Eurostar services in Kent set to increase by 33%
Eurostar, the high-speed rail operator that links the UK and the Continent, has today (Tuesday 24 July) put on sale seats on the very first trains from Ebbsfleet International in north Kent, where services will begin on Monday 19 November.
The opening of Ebbsfleet International will mean that Eurostar has two stations in Kent, and will increase the number of international trains serving the county by 33% - from 12 to 16 trains a day.
Ebbsfleet International will offer seven daily services to Paris and five to Brussels. Ashford International will continue to have services to Paris, Lille, Disneyland Resort Paris and the seasonal services to Avignon and the French Alps.
To promote Ebbsfleet International, Eurostar recently opened a shop at Bluewater – just two miles from the new international station. The new shop has been a huge success taking £100,000 worth of bookings in the two months since it opened on 25 May.
Ashford International will also be the first station on the Eurostar network to have Eurostar's new check-in gates installed. The installation will begin in late summer and will see the old style check-in gates replaced with a new system, future-proofed to prepare for the planned introduction of bar-code ticketing.
Eurostar's recent investment in Ashford is now set to exceed £750,000 pounds, with the recent £250,000 renewal of the station's CCTV systems and refurbishment of the Ashford Contact Centre.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said: "From 19 November Kent will benefit from a second Eurostar station. Together, Ebbsfleet and Ashford will deliver a substantial increase in rail services for the county and strengthen its position as the crossroads to the Continent."
Tickets for the first trains from Ebbsfleet International and St Pancras International, Eurostar's new London terminal, are on sale this morning from 09.00 BST in the UK (10.00 CET on the Continent). Seats are being offered at the normal prices and start from £59 return to Paris or Brussels. Travellers can book via www.eurostar.com, on 08705 186 186, at Eurostar stations or by contacting their travel agent.
- ends -
Notes to Editors.
1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking London Waterloo (until 13 November), London St Pancras (from 14 November) Ebbsfleet (from 19 November), Ashford, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
2. Eurostar will switch its London terminal from Waterloo International and begin services from St Pancras International on 14 November 2007. Journey times on High Speed 1, the UK's first high-speed line, will be London – Paris 2h 15min; London – Brussels 1h 51min; and London - Lille 1h 20min.
3. A new station at Ebbsfleet International, just off junction 2 of the M25 near Dartford crossing and Bluewater shopping centre in north Kent, will open on 19 November. Journey times will be 10 minutes shorter than from St Pancras.
4. Under its 'Tread Lightly' initiative, Eurostar has set a target of reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 25% per passenger journey by 2012. Independent research has already shown that a Eurostar journey between London and Paris / Brussels generates 10 times less carbon dioxide than flying.
5. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe's leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
6. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies. Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates a vehicle shuttle service and the Channel tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's biggest customer.
7. 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, T+44 (0)20 7922 4494, press.office@eurostar.co.uk
Gareth Headon
Eurostar Corporate Communications
T. +44 (0) 20 7922 4425
F. +44 (0) 20 7922 4499
M. +44 (0) 7802 260 096