Eurostar and ATOC announce through fares to continental Europe are now from over 130 towns and cities

6 May 2008

-- Eurostar links up with First Great Western and National Express East Anglia to offer through fares to Paris, Brussels and beyond – return tickets from just £67-- Existing partners First Capital Connect, Chiltern Railways and East Midlands Trains extend number of stations with through fares-- Eurostar travellers from UK regions up by 45% in the first quarter of 2008
Eurostar, the international high-speed train operator, and the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) today (Tuesday 6 May 2008) announced that over 130 British towns and cities now have through fares to mainland Europe.
Travellers can now obtain through fares from a further 65 stations across Britain to mainland Europe, on top of the first phase of 68 towns and cities offering through fares since 14 November 2007, the date when Eurostar launched 186mph services on High Speed 1 from St Pancras International.
Through fares are helping to drive up demand for Eurostar, with the number of Eurostar journeys by travellers living in the UK regions outside London increasing by an average of 45% in the first quarter of 2008.
First Great Western and National Express East Anglia are Eurostar's latest through-fare partners, taking the total number of partnerships with domestic train operators to nine.
Examples of the new lowest standard return fares, fastest journey times, and frequency of connecting services include:
Brighton–Brussels / Paris: £71 return ­– journey times 3h55 / 4h20; frequencies 8/14Oxford–Brussels / Paris: £69 return – journey times 4h35 / 4h30; frequencies 9/15Ipswich–Brussels / Paris: £77 return – journey times 4h20 / 4h40; frequencies 8/13Bath–Brussels / Paris: £79 return – journey times 4h55 / 5h10; frequencies 7/12Bristol–Brussels / Paris: £79 return – journey times 5h05 / 5h20; frequencies 8/13High Wycombe–Brussels / Paris: £70 return – journey times 3h40 / 4h05; frequencies 8/13
(For travel to Disneyland ® Resort Paris, and to any station in Belgium, the lowest fares are the same price as for Brussels / Paris.)
First Capital Connect has extended through fares to 11 more towns including Brighton; Chiltern Railways to a further 15 towns, and East Midlands Trains has added Loughborough to its stations with through fares.
Rail travel to the Continent is often as quick or quicker and more convenient than going by air. Travellers avoid the cost and time of getting to and from out-of-town airports because trains go city-centre to city-centre. With Eurostar, check-in is just 30 minutes (10 minutes for Business Premier travellers), the journey is carbon neutral and far less environmentally damaging than flying, and there is no waiting for baggage reclaim because travellers keep their luggage with them. Service frequency is greater than regional airlines, and unlike many air fares, through fares have no extra booking fees or taxes.
Simon Montague, Director of Communications for Eurostar, said: "With Eurostar's move to St Pancras International and with through fares at prices as good as or better than those offered by regional airlines, millions more UK residents have much greater choice in they way they travel to the Continent.
"The increasing numbers of UK travellers choosing to travel to mainland Europe by rail shows that a clear shift is occurring, with more and more people regarding the train as a better option."
David Mapp, Commercial Director of ATOC, said: "This is a further important step in integrating Britain's rail network with that of continental Europe. The new through fares offer exceptional value for money and should help make rail the natural choice for journeys to Paris, Brussels and beyond."
Through fares from over 130 British towns and cities to Paris, Brussels and Disneyland Resort® Paris are available from www.eurostar.com and on 08705 186 186 and start from £67 standard return. Travellers can also book through fares to over 75 destinations across France; any station in Belgium; Dutch destinations including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Schipol and The Hague; and Aachen and Cologne in Germany.
Through fares are available up to 84 days in advance, in line with domestic train operators' normal booking horizons.
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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, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
2. Eurostar now has through fares deals with First Great Western, National Express East Anglia, First Capital Connect, Virgin Trains, National Express East Coast, East Midlands Trains, London Midland, Chiltern Railways and Hull Trains.
3. Ebbsfleet International in north Kent is close to junction 2 of the M25 and Bluewater shopping centre, and lies at the heart of a catchment of 10 million people. It offers seven trains a day to Paris and five a day to Brussels, with ample parking and taxi and Avis car hire facilities. Eurostar travellers can also connect with the station for free on Southeastern train services and Fastrack buses.
4. Ashford International in Kent provides three services a day to Paris, a daily service to Disneyland Resort Paris and seasonal weekly services to the French Alps and Avignon. The station provides ample parking and connects with domestic rail services.
5. Independent research has shown that a Eurostar journey between London and Paris generates one-tenth of the carbon dioxide produced by an equivalent flight. Under its Tread Lightly initiative, Eurostar has set a target of further reducing its CO2 emissions by 25% per traveller journey by 2012. Eurostar is the world's first train operator to make all journeys carbon neutral.
6. Eurostar and Friends of the Earth are working together in the UK on Eurostar's Tread Lightly initiative and The Big Ask, Friends of the Earth's climate campaign. To find out more about Friends of the Earth or The Big Ask please click here www.friendsoftheearth.co.uk
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. To book through fares via Eurostar, or to find out more information, go to www.eurostar.com or call 08705 186 186.
For more information:Eurostar Press Office+44 (0) 20 7843 5500press.office@eurostar.co.ukFor images please go to www.eurostarimagery.co.uk and register.
About Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC)
The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) is the official voice for Britain's passenger rail industry – representing train companies to the government and other opinion formers on transport policy issues. Britain's train operators are working together to change rail travel for the better. ATOC manages many joint activities for train operators including revenue allocation and settlement, impartial retailing, National Rail Enquiries, Railcard marketing, staff travel arrangements, international products and travel agent licensing. For more information visit www.atoc.org and www.atoc-comms.org
For more information: ATOC press office +44 (0)20 7841 8020, atocnews@atoc.org