Eurostar launches 50-city, 5-month national tour

27 Apr 2007

Eurostar provides advance information to towns and cities across the UK on its services from London's St Pancras International station on High Speed 1 – the UK's first high-speed line.
--Mainland Europe gets even closer – journeys shortened by 23-25 minutes--More of Britain has access to Eurostar services--New intermediate station, Ebbsfleet International, just off M25 near Dartford Crossing in Kent--Increased tourism from the continent to UK cities
Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service linking the UK with France and Belgium, is to start a 50 city, 5 month UK tour on 8 May to showcase the national benefits of the forthcoming opening of High Speed 1, the country's first dedicated high-speed railway, that will link Eurostar's new central London station at St Pancras International with the Channel Tunnel.
The tour will take in 50 locations from Edinburgh to Brighton and from Exeter to Hull. The company will meet politicians, councillors, business leaders, tourism chiefs and community groups to detail the benefits.
Eurostar will launch services from the magnificent and iconic St Pancras International station in the heart of London on Wednesday 14 November 2007, ceasing operations at Waterloo International on the previous evening and moving overnight to minimise disruption to travellers. By using high-frequency domestic rail services to London, people across the UK will be able to connect with high-speed Eurostar services to the continent.
Additionally, a new and strategically located intermediate station, Ebbsfleet International, will open a few days later. It is located just off junction 2 of the M25, close to Bluewater shopping centre near the Dartford Crossing in North Kent. Ebbsfleet International has a catchment of 10 million travellers, many of whom will be attracted to switch from South East England's overcrowded airports. This hugely convenient parkway station will complement Eurostar's existing station at Ashford International.
Eurostar trains will travel at speeds of up to 186 mph (300 km/h) on High Speed 1 and journey times to Paris, Brussels and Lille will be slashed by a further 23-25 minutes. It will mean that the UK is fully plugged into Europe's fast growing high-speed rail network for the first time.
The briefings will also include details of the superb range of quality shops, stylish bars and excellent restaurants that St Pancras International will offer – making the station a destination in its own right.
High Speed 1 will bring many more towns and cities in the UK closer to destinations in Europe and give continental visitors easier access to more of Britain.
Tourism by rail to regions north and west of London is expected to increase significantly, as it already has in London and South East England. Over 75 million people have travelled on Eurostar since services commenced on 14 November 1994.
Eurostar Chief Executive Richard Brown said: "Our new stations and High Speed 1 will unlock the power of Eurostar for people living in the regions. Attractive fares, better connections with domestic rail services and faster journey times to Paris and Brussels will ensure seamless journeys and provide a genuine alternative to short-haul air.
"Together with our domestic rail partners we will offer a more compelling option for travellers both in terms of convenience - where for instance you will be able to buy a return ticket from Peterborough to Paris - and with a much wider choice of departure times.
"Short-haul airlines operating out of regional airports have for too long played the 'convenience card'. The time is right for consumers to switch to rail as a more convenient, more frequent and greener alternative to flying. Our 50-date national tour is designed to show how our new stations and High Speed 1 herald a new era of train travel."
Eurostar's retained communications agency Consolidated, which handles consumer, corporate and public affairs for the organisation, will be helping deliver the roadshow programme in each locality.
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Notes to Editors:
1. Independent research has shown that taking Eurostar between London and Paris or Brussels generates ten times less CO² than flying. Eurostar has set itself a target of reducing CO² emissions by a further 25% per passenger journey by 2012, making rail travel greener still.
2. High Speed 1 was constructed in two sections. The first section from the Channel Tunnel to just south of Gravesend, in Kent, was opened in September 2003 and took 20 minutes off previous journey times.
3. From 14 November, travellers across Britain will be able to book travel from around 60 UK stations using the domestic rail service and connecting with Eurostar to Paris, Brussels, Lille, Disneyland Resort Paris, as well as the direct day/night services to the French Alps in the winter and the weekly direct service to Avignon in the summer.
4. Eurostar has won the title of "World's Leading Rail Service" for the last nine years at the World Travel Awards.
5. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are two entirely different companies with two different management teams. Eurostar operates a high-speed passenger service, while Eurotunnel owns the Channel tunnel itself and operates vehicle shuttle trains between Folkestone and Calais. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's largest customer.
6. To book tickets for Eurostar, or to find out more information, go to , call 08705 186 186 or contact your travel agent.
Gareth HeadonEurostar Corporate CommunicationsT. +44 (0) 20 7922 4425F. +44 (0) 20 7922 4499M. +44 (0) 7802 260 096