Eurostar sees growth in traveller numbers and ticket sales in third quarter

15 Oct 2008

--Traveller numbers up 6.4% to 2.37 million--Ticket sales rise 2.4% to £152.3 million--Amended timetable following Channel Tunnel incident provides 93% of normal capacity--First nine months of 2008 see 13.9% rise in travellers and 17.2% increase in ticket sales
Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service that links the UK with the Continent,saw increases in both traveller numbers and ticket sales in the third quarter of 2008(July-September).
Eurostar carried 2.37 million travellers, an increase of 6.4% against the same period last year. The increase occurred despite Eurotunnel's closure of the Channel tunnel on 11 and 12 September, which caused a reduced level of Eurostar services for the rest of the month.Ticket revenues rose by 2.4% to £152.3 million.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive, Eurostar, said: "High-speed rail continues to attract more travellers. Eurostar's good value fares, fast city centre-to-city centre journey times and enjoyable on-board experience are all reasons why people are switching to the train.
"Eurostar's growth in the third quarter is particularly encouraging given the incident in the Channel Tunnel and that the comparative three-month period in 2007 was boosted by the Rugby World Cup.
"Our staff have done an amazing job to restore 93% of capacity within a very short time and this has enabled travellers to carry on booking with confidence."
High-speed rail's reliability continues to outstrip air travel. Eurostar's punctuality forJanuary–July 2008 averaged 92.6% compared with an average of 64.8% for the airlines operating on the London–Paris and London–Brussels routes, according to the latest comparative data. For the third quarter (June-September 2008), Eurostar's punctuality was even better at 93.5%.
In the first nine months of the year, Eurostar carried 7.0 million travellers, up 13.9% on last year, with ticket sales up 17.2% to £521.1 million.
Eurostar is seeing strong growth in demand from the UK regions, with increases of up to 100% in the number of travellers during the first nine months of 2008 from towns and cities in the Midlands and North of England.
On 1 October 2008, Eurostar launched an amended timetable that makes best use of the Channel Tunnel capacity provided by Eurotunnel. This timetable represents 93% of Eurostar capacity before the incident on 11 September 2008. It will continue in force for some months until Eurotunnel, the Channel tunnel operator, is able to restore full access to both tunnels under the sea.
Book early to secure your cheap eurostar tickets
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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 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.
3. Ebbsfleet International in north Kent is close to junction 2 of the M25 and Bluewater shopping centre, serving 10 million people across southern and eastern England. It offers frequent services to Brussels and Paris, with ample parking and taxi and Avis car hire facilities.
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.
5. 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.
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 visit 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 vehicle shuttle services 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.