Eurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, reported continuing year-on-year growth to 30 September 2014. Compared to the same period in 2013, Q3 passenger numbers grew by 3% to 2.8 million (Q3 2013: 2.7 million) while sales revenues rose by 2% to £211 million (Q3 2013: £207 million).
These figures mark ten consecutive years of growth in sales revenues and passenger numbers and are testament to the increasing enthusiasm among customers for choosing the ease, speed and comfort of high speed rail over plane.
The growing economic confidence in UK that was reported in the first half of the year continued to gather momentum in Q3 resulting in stronger business travel bookings. During this period the number of passengers choosing to travel in Eurostar’s Business Premier class of travel saw an uplift of 6% compared with the third quarter of last year.
With demand from passengers for cross-channel high speed rail services at an all-time high, Eurostar is now set for further expansion of its services at it extends its reach into Europe. Beyond its core routes of Paris, Brussels and Lille, Eurostar serves a range of destinations including the French Alps, the Swiss Alps, and Geneva. Building on its network of routes, in early December this year, tickets will go on sale for Eurostar’s new all year-round service direct from London to Provence stopping at Lyon, Avignon and Marseille.
The start of the year-round Provence service in May 2015 will then be followed in 2016 by the launch of a direct service from London to the heart of Amsterdam with stops in Antwerp, Rotterdam, Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam Centraal. The London-Amsterdam route is the largest international airline market in Europe attracting over 3 million business and leisure passengers. The arrival of a direct high speed rail service will provide passengers with an attractive, convenient alternative to the airlines.
“After twenty years of leading the way in cross channel high speed rail travel our sights are now set on expanding further afield and making rail the obvious choice for short haul travel. With passenger numbers and sales revenues increasing year-on-year we are well placed for the next phase of growth. Our new direct services to Provence and Amsterdam will revolutionise travel to these destinations and mark the start of a new chapter for our business”, said Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive, Eurostar.
To meet the demand from customers for travel beyond its existing destinations, Eurostar is significantly upgrading its fleet so that it can expand further into Europe delivering unrivalled comfort, style and service for customers. With the production of the new e320 trains progressing well Eurostar will be unveiling the e320 on Thursday 13 November at St Pancras International – a year before the trains are due to enter commercial service and on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the service.
Carrying 900 passengers, these Eurostar e320 trains will boost capacity per train by 20% and will be capable of a speed of 320 kph (200 mph). With the interiors and external livery designed by Pininfarina, the world famous Italian design house renowned for its iconic car designs, the design boasts a range of innovative features which will create an outstanding travel experience for customers.