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Eurostar is the fast train service linking London, Ashford, Paris, Brussels, Avignon, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Paris and the French Alps via the Channel Tunnel.
Note: The EuroStar is a foot passenger service only. To travel with your vehicle on a rail service between England and France click here to book a EuroTunnel ticket.
Eurostar Rail Service
Within half an hour, you’ve checked in. Within two hours, you’re in another country. And despite Eurostar having provided this unique service for over a decade, the novelty still hasn’t worn off.
About Eurostar Rail Serivces
More than a decade ago, Eurostar changed the way people travel to Paris and Brussels forever. In fact, Eurostar doubled the amount of visitors travelling from London to both these cities.
In 2005, with connecting services giving Eurostar links to over 100 destinations across Europe, Eurostar continue to change the way people travel.
Eurostar started operating in 1994, providing city centre to city centre services.
With the opening of the new UK fast line on 28 September 2003, Eurostar have been able to reduce the fastest return journey times by 40 minutes. The fastest journey from London Waterloo to Paris Gare du Nord is now 2 hours 35 minutes, London Waterloo to Brussels 2 hours 15 minutes and London to Lille 1 hour 40 minutes.
With Eurostar there are also direct daily services from London Waterloo and Ashford to the gates of Disneyland Resort Paris and, during the winter holiday season, Eurostar operates two services every week from Waterloo and Ashford to Moutiers and Bourg St Maurice in the French Alps. Eurostar also runs a direct service to Avignon in Provence on Saturdays during the summer.
Since operations of the Channel Tunnel passenger train begun, Eurostar has more than doubled the total number of passengers travelling (by air or rail) between London and Paris/Brussels. Eurostar has checked-in over 50 million people since its launch in November 1994.
Eurostar Rail Routes
Eurostar runs up to 14 services to Paris and nine to Brussels daily. In addition, up to nine trains stop at Lille in northern France, and up to four services stop at Calais Frethun en route. Also, 14 trains call daily at the terminal at Ashford International, which serves as the principal passenger gateway from Kent via the channel tunnel on the Eurostar train to the continent.
Ashford - Avignon
Ashford - Bourg St Maurice
Ashford - Brussels Midi
Ashford - Calais
Ashford - Disneyland Paris
Ashford - Lille
Ashford - Moutiers
Ashford - Paris Gare du Nord
Avignon - Ashford
Avignon - London Waterloo
Bourg St Maurice - Ashford
Bourg St Maurice - London Waterloo
Brussels Midi - Ashford
Brussels Midi - London Waterloo
Calais - Ashford
Calais - London Waterloo
Disneyland Paris - Ashford
Disneyland Paris - London Waterloo
Lille - Ashford
Lille - London Waterloo
London Waterloo - Avignon
London Waterloo - Bourg St Maurice
London Waterloo - Brussels Midi
London Waterloo - Calais
London Waterloo - Disneyland Paris
London Waterloo - Lille
London Waterloo - Moutiers
London Waterloo - Paris Gare du Nord
Moutiers - Ashford
Moutiers - London Waterloo
Paris Gare du Nord - Ashford
Paris Gare du Nord - London Waterloo
Eurostar trains have the capacity to operate at a maximum speed of 186 miles per hour or 300 km per hour on the UK high-speed line and the high-speed lines in France and Belgium.
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.
Eurostar currently operates a fleet of 27 trains between the UK and France/Belgium. In addition, three Eurostar trains are being used on domestic services in France and a fourth is based in Belgium. Seven regional train sets are owned in the UK. Some of these are leased to GNER for services between London and Yorkshire while others are used for testing.
Eurostar trains are 400 metres long and comprise 18 passenger carriages and two power cars. There are 750 seats on each train, almost equivalent to capacity levels of two 747 Boeing planes. Of the seats, 544 are in standard class and 206 in Business Premier and Leisure Select. The regional sets are shorter with 14 passenger carriages. These have 444 standard class seats and 114 first class.
The length of Eurostar trains cannot be reduced or extended depending on passenger loadings. Therefore load factor is not seen as a key indicator of Eurostar performance as it may be with airlines, which are able to deploy different sizes of aircraft.
Eurostar has an excellent safety record with each of its trains having a number of safety features that make it one of the safest trains in the world.
The fireproofing systems for safe transit through the Channel Tunnel are unique. These include the extensive use of fire resistant materials, heavy gauge insulation of cables and fire doors between each carriage.
The driving cab features modern train protection systems, including the French automatic system TVM-430, which is used on the new Channel Tunnel Rail Link. The UK standard TPWS system has been fitted.
All on board crew (Train Managers and Drivers) are trained in first aid.
The beautifully appointed interiors of Eurostar's recently re-fitted high-speed trains mean you can relax in comfort and stylish surroundings from the moment you first step on board and settle down in your reserved seat. Feel like stretching your legs - then take a stroll for as long as the mood takes you.
Tempted by some refreshments - Then enjoy high quality drinks and snacks in the Standard Class Bar-Buffet carriages or fine food and Champagne served to your seat in Leisure Select and Business Premier.
On Eurostar trains, getting there is a pleasure in itself!
Popular Eurostar Destinations
The French for window shopping is window licking – lèche-vitrine. And the shops of Paris are window-licking good this winter. Take a short break to Paris to hunt for seasonal bargains in Galeries Lafayette and rival department store Printemps.
Illuminations light up the Champs-Elysées from late November and shine on until January. Find the best lights along la rue de Rivoli in the Marais and smart boulevard Saint Germain. A giant arch lights up the smart Place Vendôme, and gilded roundabouts turn in every arrondissement – find them at the square du Temple in the Marais, Place de l’Hôtel de Ville next to the 200 m2 ice rink and at Place du Trocadéro by the Eiffel Tower.
Get ready to party in Paris at Batofar, Le Pulp or Man Ray, join the costumed ball at Royal Monceau or catch the spectacular parade in Chantilly. Partied out? Then relax, and prepare for the January sales in Paris.
Travel with Eurostar on a short break to Avignon, on the banks of the River Rhône. As your holiday destination approaches, glimpse blue-hued seas of lavender, neat olive groves and gnarled vines through the train window.
You probably know that this medieval city is dominated by the awesome Palais des Papes (Popes' Palace) - this red-bricked beauty was Christianity's power base in the 14th century, and a string of popes have called it home.
But you may not know that the Palace is just one of Avignon's unmistakable buildings to have won UNESCO heritage status. Take a long, short break to wander Avignon's gorgeous medieval streets, and be torn between boutique shopping or sightseeing in sumptuous mansions, churches and palaces.
There's more to do in this Provençal town than dance on the bridge! Sunning yourself silly has to be right up there in a city that basks in the sun 300 days a year.
Peckish? Pick up a Provençal pepper at gourmet La Mirande and hang out in chilled-out bars around the central place de l'Horloge.
Don't go home without exploring Provence - from lavender-strewn Luberon to the awesome Pont de Gard aqueduct.
Take a short break to Brussels this winter for fine chocolates and high fashion. Ice skate your way round the 100 metre rink on the Marché aux Poissons square or take a spin in the illuminated Big Wheel. Keep warm with spiced mulled wine and buttery waffle snacks or dine on winter’s favourites in Brussels restaurants – wild boar or pheasant soaked in beer, served with cranberries and mushrooms.
Stay inside to enjoy the season’s exhibitions - Europalia Russia spans everything from shamanism to the Trans-Siberian Railway, Fabergé and the Russian avant-garde. Don’t miss Brussels’ January sales, which begin on the 7th January. The huge department store INNO on rue Neuve is the place to bag the bargains, or buy Belgian high fashion at affordable prices along rue Antoine Dansaert.
Disneyland Paris - Whether it’s for your kids or just being a big kid yourself, only Eurostar can take you right to the heard of Disneyland Paris.
Eurostar Ski Train - Take a ride with Eurostar to France all the way into the Alps.
From December until April, Eurostar have two trains to get you to the Alps in – one travels by day, the other by night.
Enjoy first class skiing and snow boarding experience on some of the best European slopes. Just decide whether you want to take the evening ski train on the Friday or the day one which leaves on Saturday morning.
You can glide through the snow as soon as you arrive. You won’t forget your winter break in France.
Brief History of Eurostar Milestones
- 17 May 1993
Completion of Waterloo International Terminal
- 20 June 1993
First test train arrives in the UK through the Channel Tunnel
- 6 May 1994
Channel Tunnel inaugurated by HM The Queen and President Mitterrand of France
- 14 November 1994
Public Eurostar services commence with two services each way to Paris and Brussels
- 8 January 1996
Start of services from Ashford International, Kent
- 1 June 1996
London & Continental Railways (LCR) assumes ownership of European Passenger Services, the British operator.
- 29 June 1996
Start of Direct services to Disneyland Paris
- 14 November 1996
Eurostar Frequent Traveller, Eurostar's Loyalty programme launched
- 13 December 1997
Start of ski train services to the French Alps
- 14 December 1997
Inauguration of the Belgian high-speed line reduces London-Brussels journey time to two hours and 40 minutes.
- 1 October 1998
Start of work on the UK high speed rail line between the Channel Tunnel and London
- 11 March 1999
Formation of Eurostar Group announced
- 20 July 2002
Start of direct services from Waterloo and Ashford to Avignon
- 30 July 2003
Eurostar sets new UK rail speed record of 208.0 mph or 334.7 km/h
- 16 September 2003
CTRL1 opens on time and on budget
- 28 September 2003
Passenger services begin on CTRL1
- 23 August 2004
Eurostar sets a new punctuality record with 97.35% of trains arriving on time or early during the week of 16-22 August 2004
- 7 September 2004
Eurostar launches its first refurbished train
- 14 November 2004
Eurostar celebrates its 10th birthday
- 5 January 2005
Record passenger figures, sales revenue and punctuality announced
- 1 September 2005
Eurostar reinvents first class, splitting business and leisure travellers with the launch of Business Premier and Leisure Select.
Record Year for Eurostar as Business Travellers Switch From Airlines
Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service that links the UK with France and Belgium, saw record sales and traveller numbers in 2005 as an innovative new product strategy attracted thousands more business customers.
The increase in “Business Premier” traffic, with 14% more business tickets sold than in 2004, shows that Eurostar appears to have become the carrier of choice for business travellers, resulting in some airlines removing their business-class products on short-haul European routes.
Expected sales in 2005 were £463.8 million, up 7% on the year before (£433 million). Eurostar’s trade partners, including travel management companies, tour operators and travel agents, generated over 40% of these sales whilst a further 30% of tickets were booked via Eurostar.com.
In total, 7.45 million travellers chose Eurostar in 2005, up 2.4% on 2004. Eurostar has now carried more than 68 million people since it started services in 1994.
During the year, Eurostar recorded its highest ever market share, taking 71% of the London-Paris and 64% of the London-Brussels air/rail routes.
Punctuality in 2005, at 86.3%, was much better than the punctuality rates of airline competitors operating on the London / Paris / Brussels routes. Recent data from the Civil Aviation Authority shows that punctuality at Heathrow Airport has remained below 70%.
To meet growing demand, a 10th daily weekday service is being introduced between London and Brussels, beginning on February 13th, further easing onward connections to Amsterdam and Cologne. In addition, to help travellers wishing to book further ahead, Eurostar tickets can now be bought up to 4 months before travel.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive, Eurostar, commented: “Our focus on business travellers is paying off. We’re delivering the full premier service they need in order to be prepared for the business day ahead. As some airlines cut out their business-class cabins, they’re also cutting out their customers.”
Mr. Brown added: “As demand for Eurostar grows, we’ll continue to add more services, such as the new 10th daily weekday train to and from Brussels. Our mission is clear – to bring long-haul standards to short-haul travel.”
During 2006, Eurostar expects to benefit from more travellers visiting London and Paris because of the release of the film version of The Da Vinci Code. Bookings are also expected to be strengthened by travel to and from the World Cup football tournament in Germany in June and July.
Eurostar continues to make detailed plans for its move to St. Pancras International in 2007 – when its entire service will switch from Waterloo. The government has announced that Eurostar’s existing platforms will be converted for use by domestic train services into and out of Waterloo.
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