Rugby fans boost passenger numbers for Six Nations clash

4 Feb 2011

France vs. Scotland 'Auld Alliance' match boosts passenger figures by 9%

Eurostar will welcome thousands of rugby fans this weekend, as they make their way to the Stade de France in Paris for the France vs. Scotland rugby match, the first meeting for both teams in the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Tournament.

The number of passengers travelling with Eurostar from London to Paris is up 5% on Friday 4 February and up 9% on Sunday 6 February compared to the same weekend in 2010, when there was no tournament match.

The increase in passengers is due not only to the hundreds of Scottish and French fans based in the South East of England, but also the supporters that will be travelling by connecting trains from all over the UK and especially from Glasgow and Edinburgh.

As the Scottish fans descend on Paris, the congenial rivalries are expected to continue through the weekend and especially from the moment the final whistle blows on Saturday evening.

One place that is expected to be particularly busy is the Scottish pub 'The Pure Malt' in Parisian district of Le Marais. Scottish owner and landlord Colin Shepherd is looking forward to the weekend:

"Paris Rugby fans anticipate the arrival of Scottish fans more than those of any other nation. If all Americans secretly want to be Irish then, after 10 years living in Paris, I think all French secretly want to be Scottish.

"There seems to be a genuine affection between the two nations dating back to the Auld Alliance treaty of 1295. The Bretons for example are extremely proud of their heritage and there will be many Bretons in kilts in Paris on that weekend. The fans mix very well and I'm very much looking forward to one big, happy three day party."

Mary Walsh, Director of Communications for Eurostar said:

"With Kings Cross and Euston stations on the doorstep of St Pancras International, it is particularly easy to connect to Eurostar from Scotland and we're expecting a Scottish invasion. Many of our rugby loving travellers tell us their Eurostar journey is a great opportunity to soak up the carnival mood before the match and to celebrate old friendships and sporting rivalries."

The France vs. Scotland match kicks off at the Stade de France at 18h00 (CET) 17h00 (GMT).

Tickets for travel from London to Paris starts from £69 return and can be booked up to 4 months in advance.

Tickets for travel from Scotland to the continent and from over 150 stations throughout the UK can be purchased at eurostar.com or by calling 03448 224 777.

Starting price for travel from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Paris is £102 with connecting travel provided by either East Coast or Virgin Trains.

Photography of fans at St Pancras International is available from the Eurostar Press Office on request.

Note 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 was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR.

3. The current Eurostar train was first introduced into service in 1994 carrying 750 passengers and operating at speeds of up to 300kph. Since then, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 100 million passengers between London and the Continent. Following their refurbishment these trains will continue to form a core part of the Eurostar fleet.

4. 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.

5. 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.

For more information contact:

Eurostar Press Office
Eurostar
t:0044 (0)20 7843 5500
e:press.office@eurostar.com