Having just announced its direct route between London and Amsterdam this week, Eurostar now also has plans to expand the service to other European holiday hotspots.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed yesterday that ministers are in the process of helping Eurostar launch dozens of ‘seamless’ services from London to the likes of Italy, Spain and Portugal.
Currently, Eurostar will only take London passengers as far as the south of France, 800 miles from the English capital.
But it won’t be long before the routes are expanded to incorporate a direct train to Amsterdam, which will take around four hours and will be introduced on 30 April.
From 18 May, passengers will also be able to travel directly to Rotterdam, then beyond that Eurostar also has plans to stretch out to the likes of Rome, which is 1,165 miles away from London, and Lisbon, 1,360 miles away.
According to Shapps, other spots like Switzerland, Spain and Italy will also follow suit at some point in the future.
Shapps said: “We are fully committed to expanding international rail routes as a Government – and Eurostar is too.
“Among those destinations mentioned to be added in the future is Bordeaux… Spain, Portugal, Geneva and beyond into the rest – Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Frankfurt.
“Ultimately, we want to see seamless connections, with continental high-speed networks to destinations lighting up across the departure board.”
The addition of Amsterdam and Rotterdam to Eurostar routes are down to a change in border procedures.
Eurostar Chief Executive Mike Cooper said: “Our services from the UK to the Netherlands have proved very popular with over half a million travellers since launch.
“Our fully direct service marks an exciting advance for high-speed rail and provides consumers with a comfortable, environmentally friendly alternative to the airlines on one of Europe’s busiest leisure and business routes.”
He added: “It’s a huge market, 4.3 million air market at the moment. What’s interesting is that there’s a precise parallel to when we started Paris back in 1994, it was the same size air market, and look what’s developed since.
“We think it’s going to be a hugely credible alternative to flying and a sustainable alternative to flying as well.”
With prices starting from just £35, tickets go on sale from 11 February.
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