Eurostar contributes to rail renaissance as UK domestic passenger numbers hit highest level since 1920s

31 Jan 2011

Eurostar, the high-speed rail passenger service which links the UK to mainland Europe today welcomed the news from the Association of Train Operator Companies that Britain's railways are busier than they have been since the 1920s.

ATOC, of which Eurostar is a member, also announced that in the past 30 years train passenger numbers have doubled and are up 37 per cent since 2000.

Every year, more and more passengers across the UK experience the ease and convenience of international high speed rail travel, using Eurostar as their gateway to Europe. Eurostar has had a profound impact on travellers' journeys between the UK and the continent and has been a key player in the 'rail renaissance'.

Following are some key facts from Eurostar's 16 year history.

  • Eurostar has been instrumental in transforming travel between London, Paris and Brussels and to date, has carried more than 103 million passengers and 9.5 million in 2010 alone.
  • Research commissioned by Eurostar demonstrated that 97% of respondents believe that Eurostar has brought the UK closer to France and Belgium and 87% are of the view that our lives have been significantly enriched by the social and cultural exchange that Eurostar provides
  • The number of passengers travelling on Eurostar in 2010 rose to 9.5 million compared with 9.2 million during 2009, an increase of over 3%.
  • Since the first Eurostar service in 1994, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 100 million passengers between London and the Continent
  • Since starting operations in November 1994, Eurostar has more than doubled the total number of passengers travelling (by air or rail) between London and Paris/Brussels.
  • Independent research commissioned by Eurostar has shown that, per passenger journey, flying between London and Paris or Brussels generates ten times more carbon dioxide emissions than taking Eurostar
  • On 30 July 2003, Eurostar broke the UK rail speed record with a test train reaching 208.0 miles per hour or 334.7 km per hour on the new UK high-speed line
  • Up to 50 trains per day on Eurostar's Paris and Brussels routes
  • Plane vs. Train - Eurostar owns 80% of the market share for travel between London and Paris and Brussels
  • With connecting services Eurostar has links from over 100 destinations across the UK to over a 150 destinations in Europe.

- ENDS -

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 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.

The new Eurostar e320 will carry more than 900 passengers at speeds of up to 320kph.

4. Journey times from London to Amsterdam, Cologne, Lyon and Marseille are as follows:

· London to Amsterdam - 4 hours 16 minutes

· London to Cologne - 4 hours 11 minutes

· London to Lyon - 5 hours 4 minutes

· London to Marseille - 6 hours 15 minutes

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. To book tickets or for more travel information, please visit or call 03448 224 777.

For more information:
Eurostar Press Office
020 7843 5500