Eurostar launches services from Ebbsfleet International, serving 10 million travellers across southern England

19 Nov 2007

--Crawley or Chelmsford to central Paris in 4 hours--Brighton or Cambridge to central Brussels in 4 hours--Airline passengers can switch from London's airports to faster, more convenient and greener high-speed rail Eurostar, the high-speed train operator between the UK and the Continent, today (19 November) begins services from the new Ebbsfleet International station - making high-speed rail travel even more accessible to 10 million people across southern England.
The first scheduled departure is the 05.38 for Paris, due to arrive in the French capital before 09.00 local time and enabling business travellers to undertake a full day's work.
Ebbsfleet International is Eurostar's second new station on High Speed 1, the UK's first high-speed line. It is perfectly placed just off junction 2 of the M25, close to the Dartford crossing and Bluewater shopping centre, a location well-known to millions of shoppers from around the Home Counties.
Eurostar today revealed that sales at its Bluewater shop have now topped £500,000 in the six months since it opened. Until the end of November, Bluewater shoppers can take advantage of a 2-for-1 deal to book travel from either Ebbsfleet International or Ashford International stations. Standard return fares start from £59 return.
Ebbsfleet International is well-signed from both the M25 and A2. There are 2,500 parking spaces within five minutes' walk of the check-in gates, with a charge of £11.50 a day that is significantly cheaper than London's main airports. Business Premier ticket holders and members of Eurostar's Carte Blanche frequent traveller scheme can park free for up to four days. In addition, the station offers Avis car rental, regulated taxis and covered bicycle parking, and will soon have valet parking and car wash services.
Eurostar travellers can also reach Ebbsfleet International via public transport, obtaining free travel on both Southeastern train services and the local Fastrack bus service simply by producing proofs of ticket purchase and identity. The same arrangements apply for Eurostar travellers using Ashford International. Check-in times are just 30 minutes, and only 10 minutes for Business Premier travellers.
Eurostar offers a punctuality that is superior to airlines and a frequency that matches them, with seven services a day to Paris, five to Brussels, and four stops at Lille. The first services arrive in continental city centres before 09.00, saving business travellers the time and cost of overnight hotel stays while at the same time maximising productivity.
Journey times are: 1h 10m to Lille, 1h 41m to Brussels and 2h 05m to Paris; all 10 minutes less than from St Pancras International in central London.
All Eurostar journeys are now carbon neutral at no extra cost, further reassuring travellers that they have made the right choice on environmental grounds.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said: "Ebbsfleet International is as close to the M25 as any London airport, and is the fastest way to Europe. It enables business travellers to get up later, arrive earlier, and do a full day's work.
"Leisure travellers can avoid congested airports, long check-in queues and baggage reclaim delays, and nip across to mainland Europe in relaxing style. It's a lot better for the environment than flying too." In addition to attracting passengers who currently fly, Ebbsfleet International will appeal to many thousands of Eurostar travellers living south and south-west of the capital, who may prefer an alternative to St Pancras International, Eurostar's new station in central London.
Ashford InternationalEurostar also announced today that it is spending a further £750,000 on improving facilities at Ashford International, taking total investment to more than £1.5M. The footbridge linking the car park and check-in gates within the station is to be fully refurbished. Eurostar announced earlier this year that it has installed new check-in gates, renewed the CCTV system in the station and car park, and refurbished the Ashford contact centre which employs 300 local people.
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Notes to Editors
1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Disneyland Resort Paris, Calais, Avignon and the French Alps.
2. Typical drive times (for detailed times see www.theaa.com) to and from Ebbsfleet International include:
North of LondonLakeside - 19 minutesBasildon – 34 minutesChelmsford – 46 minutesSouthend-on-Sea – 50 minutesSt Albans – 58 minutesWelwyn Garden City – 59 minutesCambridge – 74 minuteAylesbury – 85 minutes
South of LondonSevenoaks – 25 minutesMaidstone – 27 minutesRoyal Tunbridge Wells – 40 minutesCrawley - 51 minutesGuildford – 65 minutesWoking – 69 minutesBrighton – 76 minutesWorthing – 88 minutes
3. 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 ten times less carbon dioxide than flying.
4. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership of European high-speed operators that is making it easier to book and travel on Europe's fast-expanding high-speed rail network. Ebbsfleet International is a gateway to Lille and Brussels, where travellers can connect easily for destinations across France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
5. Eurostar is the proud sponsor of Ebbsfleet United FC, which plays in the Blue Square Premier. The club's ground lies within 400 metres of the station.
6. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are two entirely different companies with two different management teams. Eurostar runs high-speed passenger services while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle trains and the Channel tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's largest 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+44 (0)20 7922 4494press.office@eurostar.co.uk