High Speed 1 delivers a record year for Eurostar
9 Jan 2008
--2007 ticket sales of £599 million – up 15.5% on 2006--A record 8.26 million travellers carried in 2007 – up 5.1%--Faster journeys and environmental concerns drive growth
Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service that links the UK and mainland Europe, saw record traveller numbers and record revenues from ticket sales in 2007.
Passenger numbers broke the eight million mark for the first time with 8.26 million travellers carried – an increase of 5.1% on the previous year. The launch of Eurostar services on High Speed 1 on 14 November boosted the number of travellers keen to experience 186 mph train services in Britain and the stunningly restored St Pancras International station. Between 14 November and 31 December Eurostar saw an 11% increase in passengers against the same period in 2006.
Ticket sales also reached a record level in 2007 - rising by 15.5% from £518 million in 2006 to £599 million. Increased traveller demand following the launch of faster services from St Pancras International saw ticket sales grow by a fifth (20%) during the period 14 November to 31 December.
The business travel market continued to perform strongly in 2007 with an 11.9% increase in the volume of business ticket sales. Since 2005, the volume of business ticket sales has grown 31.4%. Corporate travellers continue to switch to high-speed rail for short-haul travel between London and the Continent, to reduce their carbon footprint and to maximise productivity by taking advantage of a 10-minute check-in time and the unique work-friendly environment of Eurostar's Business Premier class. Increasing numbers of businesses that want to help tackle climate change are being attracted by the fact that all Eurostar journeys are now carbon neutral – at no extra cost to travellers.
The move to St Pancras International has opened up high-speed rail services to millions more people across the UK. The new station, together with next door King's Cross and nearby Euston, is linked to towns and cities both north and south of the capital, with connections to seven mainline services and six London Underground lines. Through tickets from just £67 return went on sale from 14 November, from 68 UK towns and cities to Paris, Disneyland Resort Paris, Brussels (as well as any station in Belgium) and 75 connecting destinations across France.
Growth in the international markets (those outside Eurostar's core territories of the UK, France and Belgium) grew strongly during 2007 with ticket sales up by 20.2% against the previous year.
Eurostar's punctuality continued at a very high level throughout the year with 91.5% of trains arriving on time or early in 2007. By contrast, the latest available 2007 UK arrival/departure punctuality figure for airlines competing on Eurostar's routes is 68.8%.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive, Eurostar, said: "The launch of Eurostar services on High Speed 1 has begun a new era in short-haul travel between the UK and mainland Europe. The impact has been immediate: Eurostar's faster services, shorter travel times and carbon neutral journeys are winning over more travellers from the short-haul airlines.
"We expect to see this growth continue throughout 2008 as the impact of the new through fares from across the UK drives growth in the number of travellers using Eurostar from towns and cities north and south of London.
"The UK is now truly part of Europe's high-speed rail network and this country can be rightly proud of the huge achievement that the successful launch of High Speed 1 and St Pancras International represents."
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. St Pancras International is connected with seven mainline rail services at St Pancras, King's Cross and Euston; and six London Underground lines. Mainline services include: St Pancras International: East Midlands Trains, First Capital Connect King's Cross: National Express East Coast, Hull Trains Euston: Virgin Trains, London Midland, First Scottish Rail London Underground lines include: Northern, Victoria, Piccadilly, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and Circle.
3. Under its 'Tread Lightly' initiative, Eurostar has set a target of reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 25% per traveller journey by 2012 Independent research has shown that a Eurostar journey between London and Paris / Brussels generates one-tenth of the carbon dioxide produced by an equivalent flight. Eurostar is the world's first train operator to make all journeys carbon neutral.
4. Eurostar and Friends of the Earth are official partners in Britain, and collaborate on the development of Eurostar's 'Tread Lightly' initiative, and Friends of the Earth's 'The Big Ask' campaign.
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+44 (0)20 7922 firstname.lastname@example.org