Massive boost for business travellers as Eurostar restores full timetable through channel tunnel

23 Feb 2009
  • Travellers want their money to work harder for them during recession
  • More trains and over a MILLION more extra seats to end of 2009
  • Greater flexibility for business day trips

Eurostar, the high-speed passenger service that links the UK and mainland Europe, today (23 February) reverts to a full timetable with more frequent services and faster non-stop journeys - ideal for business travellers.
With a return to Eurostar's fastest centre-to-centre journey times of just 1h 51 to Brussels and 2h 15 to Paris, and with first trains arriving before 09h00, business people can maximise productivity throughout the working day.
Unlike many other travel operators who are thinning out services or cutting routes, Eurostar is increasing services up to 2008 levels – before the Channel Tunnel fire (11/09/08). There will now be up to 19 trains per day from London to Paris and up to 10 per day to Brussels. Eurostar is adding up to a million extra seats from 23 February to the end of the year.
In addition, there are business-focused departures from Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International stations in Kent, and a new direct Ashford – Brussels service that is also timetabled for business travel.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive, Eurostar said, "In challenging economic times, business travellers want the best flexibility, best punctuality and the best environment to work en route. Time is money and for businesses seeking to maximise value, Eurostar's new timetable and faster journeys means a full day of productivity without the cost of overnight stays"
"Emerging booking trends indicate business day trips are again on the increase – they were up 30% in the first half of 2008 and although we do not anticipate immediate recovery to this level, it is encouraging to see positive movement in the right direction.
"Research is telling us that in tough times, customers want pricing transparency and value for money from travel operators. They don't want hidden extras or a reduction in service frequency. At Eurostar we are determined to rise to the challenge of the recession and are committed to delivering on further product enhancements during 2009 and giving the best possible value to our travellers."
Business Premier travellers enjoy a 10 minute check-in, comfortable business lounges and dedicated coaches with meals served at seat, including an Express Breakfast option.
The restoration of full Channel Tunnel capacity further increases Eurostar's ability to deliver unrivalled punctuality; the first week after full capacity was restored on 10 February saw over 95.8% punctuality. Eurostar's punctuality for 2008 was 92.4%, against an average of 65.4% for the airlines operating on its routes, according to Civil Aviation Authority data.
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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 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 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, which are due to begin this year.
5. 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.
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. 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