Eurostar revenues rise as travellers go for greener high-speed rail

18 Jul 2007

--Ticket sales up 13.6% to £295.7 million in the first half of 2007--Traveller numbers increase by 4.8% to 3.91 million--Record punctuality of more than 92%
Eurostar, the high-speed passenger service that links the UK with the Continent, saw traveller numbers and revenues climb in the first six months of 2007, as public concern about the environmental impact of transport emissions continues to grow.
Ticket sales between January and June totalled £295.7 million – an increase of 13.6% against the same period in 2006. Traveller numbers grew by 4.8% to 3.91 million.
The strongest growth was among business travellers, the number rising by 13%. Corporate clients are switching from plane to train in order to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, and more business travellers are choosing Business Premier class to take advantage of Eurostar's 10 minute check-in and the unique work-focused environment on board.
Eurostar saw strong growth in the sale of 'connecting' tickets, with sales to destinations across France up by 11.8% as more travellers chose to combine Eurostar journeys with onward connections on high-speed TGV services.
Eurostar's market-leading punctuality levels, with 92% of trains arriving on time in the first six months of 2007, have been a key factor in attracting more business travellers to switch from plane to train.
Ticket sales in international markets (those outside the core markets of the UK, France and Belgium) continued to perform strongly – growing by 22.8% against the same period in 2006.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said: "These are really encouraging results. The growth in traveller numbers clearly indicates that concerns about the environmental impact of short-haul air travel, combined with the worsening experience of flying, are prompting more people to look for a greener and easier way of travelling to the Continent."
These are the last half-year results for Eurostar services from London Waterloo. The final trains from Waterloo will run on 13 November. Eurostar will then switch overnight to its new London station, St Pancras International, where it will launch services the following morning, Wednesday 14 November.
Services from St Pancras International will be at least 20 minutes quicker, with non-stop London-Paris journeys falling to 2 hours 15 minutes and London-Brussels down to just 1 hour 51 minutes.
The first timetable for services from St Pancras International was also published today, and tickets for the last trains from Waterloo and first trains from St Pancras will go on sale on 24 July.
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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 the 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