Eurostar restores faster services through the channel tunnel from 23 February 2009

19 Jan 2009

-- Journey times return to London – Paris 2h15 and London – Brussels 1h51-- Services increased and departure times improved-- Ashford – Brussels direct service begins
Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service that links the UK and mainland Europe, announced today (19 January) that it will be operating faster and more frequent services through the Channel Tunnel from Monday 23 February 2009.
The return to a full Eurostar service follows the announcement by Eurotunnel, the owner and operator of the Channel Tunnel, that repairs to the tunnel section known as "Interval-6" will be completed by 10 February. This allows Eurostar to plan and implement the switchover from its current reduced timetable.
Between 10 and 22 February, Eurostar will continue to operate its existing departure times, with some trains likely to arrive earlier than currently timetabled.
From 23 February Eurostar will return to a normal timetable with all services operating at full speed, and fastest non-stop journey times of London – Paris 2h15, London – Brussels 1h51 and London – Lille 1h20.
There will be more trains, with up to 19 services per day on the London – Paris route and up to 10 on the London – Brussels route. With the return to full tunnel capacity, the optimum pattern of departure times will be restored, removing gaps in the current timetable which have been caused by the reduced tunnel capacity.
In addition, a new direct Ashford – Brussels services will begin on 23 February, having been delayed since last December by the tunnel incident.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive, Eurostar said, "We're delighted that Eurostar is returning to its normal high-speed journey times, with the centres of both Paris and Brussels broadly just two hours from London. This is great news for our travellers, speeding up business trips and making leisure breaks to the Continent even more attractive.
"Shorter journey times will also encourage a further switch from plane to train in our fast-growing markets in the Midlands and North of England, where travellers are being attracted by good value through fares and the convenience of city centre to city centre journeys.
"Eurotunnel has done an impressive job to complete the repairs in such a short time, given the scale of the endeavour and the logistics of working within the tunnel space".
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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. A return fare from London to Paris/Brussels costs from just £59. Travellers can also buy through fares to the Continent from 150 towns and cities across the UK, from only £71 return from Brighton to just £92 return from Edinburgh.
3. Eurostar has two intermediate stations in Kent, serving south east England:
- Ebbsfleet International close to junction 2 of the M25 and Bluewater shopping centre, with frequent services to Brussels and Paris, and with car parking, taxi and Avis car hire facilities.- Ashford International, with daily services to Paris, Disneyland Resort Paris, Brussels (from 23 February) and Lille, and seasonal trains to the French Alps and Avignon.
Eurostar ticket holders can make connecting journeys to either Kent station for free from anywhere on the Southeastern trains network. They will also be able to connect with Southeastern's high-speed domestic services from December 2009.
4. Under its Tread Lightly environmental plan, Eurostar has set a target of reducing its CO2 emissions by 25% per traveller journey by 2012. Because emissions cannot yet be eliminated, Eurostar is also the world's first train operator to make all journeys carbon neutral, at no extra cost to travellers. Research commissioned by Eurostar has shown that a Eurostar journey between London and Paris/Brussels generates one-tenth of the carbon dioxide of an equivalent flight.
5. 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.
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. 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.
8. To book tickets or for more travel information, please visit www.eurostar.com or call 08705 186 186.
For more information:Eurostar Press Office+44 (0)20 7843 5500press.office@eurostar.co.uk