More than 110,000 passengers book travel on high speed 1 – with 100 days until Eurostar moves to St Pancras International
6 Aug 2007
--Advance sales up by more than 100%
--First trains from St Pancras sold out
--Surge in passengers seeking alternative to flying
Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train operator between the UK and the continent, today (6 August) announced that more than 110,000 passengers have booked to travel on High Speed 1 in the period between the opening of St Pancras International on 14 November and Christmas.
In the first two weeks of ticket sales, advance bookings are more than double the same period last year. Demand is coming from both business travellers and leisure passengers seeking faster, more reliable and greener journeys between the UK and the continent - on High Speed 1, the UK's first 186 mph line.
With 100 days to go until the launch of services from Eurostar's new London terminal at St Pancras International, the first trains to Paris and Brussels on 14 November are sold out. Almost 90% of Standard Class tickets were snapped up at Eurostar's lowest price of £59 return.
Seats in Business Premier are in strong demand, with significant growth in premium passengers switching to a more productive and less frustrating alternative to air travel. From 14 November, business travellers will for the first time be able to reach the centres of both Paris and Brussels before 9am without journeying the night before.
High Speed 1 will cut journey times by at least 20 minutes, with non-stop times of London-Paris in 2h15m and London-Brussels in 1h51m. Travelling at 186mph, Eurostar trains will be 50% faster than the fastest UK domestic rail service.
The move to St Pancras International will open up Eurostar services to the UK regions. Evidence from continental high-speed networks shows that business travellers prefer rail over air for trips of up to four hours, while leisure travellers favour trains for journeys up to six hours. High Speed 1 will provide people in southern England and the Midlands with very competitive door-to-door journey times to the continent, via a connection in London.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said:
"We are seeing a huge surge in advance bookings for travel on High Speed 1. It's solid evidence that the travelling public is excited by the prospect of journeys that are at least 20 minutes quicker, the experience of travelling at 186mph in the UK, and the desire to switch from flying in order to 'do the right thing' for the environment.
"More and more travellers are realising that going by Eurostar avoids airport delays, fuel surcharges, waiting for baggage, and time spent getting to and from out-of-town airports."
Growing numbers of business and leisure passengers are also seeking to 'tread lightly' on the environment. Under its Tread Lightly initiative, Eurostar is aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25% per passenger journey by 2012.
From 14 November, where Eurostar cannot eliminate emissions it will offset them at its own expense, making it the first train operator in the world to provide 'carbon neutral' journeys for all its customers.
Independent research has shown that a Eurostar journey emits 10 times less carbon dioxide than flying, and Eurostar is determined to become greener still.
Tickets for the first services on High Speed 1 went on sale on 24 July.
- ends -
Notes to Editors.
1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking London Waterloo (until 13 November), London St Pancras (from 14 November) Ebbsfleet (from 19 November), Ashford, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
2. Ebbsfleet International, just off junction 2 of the M25 near Dartford crossing and Bluewater shopping centre in north Kent, will open on 19 November. Journey times will be 10 minutes shorter than from St Pancras.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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