Eurostar celebrates huge increases in travellers from regions after first year at St Pancras International station

12 Nov 2008

--Traveller numbers up 100% from East Midlands, Yorkshire, North East--Greater Manchester and West Midlands growth of over 50%--Travellers from Scotland up by more than a third--First anniversary of carbon neutral Eurostar journeys
Eurostar, the high-speed rail service that links the UK with the Continent, is celebrating huge growth in traveller demand from the regions after its first year of operations at St Pancras International, the newly restored terminal for High Speed 1, the UK's first high-speed line.
Traveller numbers from the regions north of London have increased by up to 150% in the year since Eurostar move to the new station, thanks to the introduction of through fares from more than 130 towns and cities.
The growth figures demonstrate that travellers are taking advantage of easy rail connections between domestic train operators and Eurostar services, and higher frequencies and better punctuality than regional air services.
Eurostar offers through fares to the Continent 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. Return through fares range from just £67 from Luton to only £89 from Glasgow.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive, Eurostar, said: "Travellers are switching to Eurostar for a variety of reasons – good value through fares, high frequencies of service to the Continent, and the much lower environmental impact of rail travel.
"We're delighted to see this growth, which is strong evidence that high-speed rail can provide a new alternative for short-haul journeys within the UK and for travel to mainland Europe."
Examples of growth* in the regions include:
East Midlands: 100%: including Derbyshire 154%, Nottinghamshire 112%, Leicestershire 111%Yorkshire: South Yorks 118%, East Yorks 100%, North Yorks 100%, West Yorks 68%North East: 103%; including Tyne & Wear 114%, Co Durham 103%, Newcastle 106%, Teesside 105%West Midlands: 53%; including Coventry 52% and Birmingham 49%Greater Manchester: 54%; including Stockport 62% and Oldham 56%Scotland: 38%; including Edinburgh 38%, Glasgow 29% and Aberdeen 41%
(*growth from 14 November 2007 to 2 November 2008 – latest data)
Rail travel is also being boosted by growing public concern about climate change. Since 14 November 2007 all Eurostar journeys have been carbon neutral at no extra cost to travellers when they book their tickets.
Independent research has also shown that a Eurostar journey between London and Paris/Brussels generates 10 times less carbon dioxide than an equivalent flight. Eurostar has set a target of further reducing its CO2 emissions by 25% per passenger journey by 2012.
In the first nine months of 2008 (Jan to Sept), Eurostar carried a total of 7.0 million travellers, up 13.9% on last year, with ticket sales up 17.2% to £521.1 million.
Since 1 October, Eurostar has operated an amended timetable that makes best use of the reduced Channel tunnel capacity provided by Eurotunnel, the Channel tunnel operator. This timetable represents 93% of Eurostar capacity before the incident on 11 September 2008, and is expected to continue in force until after Eurotunnel restores full tunnel capacity next spring.
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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 is the world's first train operator to make all journeys carbon neutral. 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.
3. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies. Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's biggest customer.
4. A fire on board a Eurotunnel shuttle train on 11 September 2008 and the subsequent closure of part of one tunnel for repairs mean that Eurostar will continue to operate an amended timetable until spring 2009.
5. Eurostar is in partnership with the environmental organisation Friends of the Earth. They work 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 visit www.friendsoftheearth.co.uk.
6. 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.
7. To book through fares via Eurostar, or for 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.