Eurostar, the high-speed provider of carbon neutral journeys between the UK and the continent, said today that it is expecting that its 100 millionth traveller is due to check-in on the morning of Friday 28 August for the 09h00 departure (9012) from London to Paris.
Eurostar started services on 14 November 1994 and since that time it has revolutionised international train travel and established a brand and service which is known world-wide. The 100 millionth traveller is a significant milestone in the history of the business, which next year faces on-rail competition for the first time with the change in EU competition legislation.
From the start, Eurostar has competed head to head with the airlines on the London – Paris and London – Brussels routes and now has market share of around 75%, replacing short-haul air travel as the natural mode of choice.
In 1994 only France had a high-speed line that Eurostar could operate over. In both the UK and Belgium the Eurostar trains operated on classic lines. The Belgian high-speed line opened in 1998 and in 2003 the first section of High Speed 1, the UK’s first high-speed line was completed with the final section to St Pancras International in November 2007. It was at this time that the full benefits of high-speed rail were fully realised, with the fastest journey times slashed to 2h15 London – Paris, 1h51 London – Brussels and 1h20 London – Lille. The journey time improvements are only part of the unique offering of high-speed rail, which provides city centre to city centre journeys, greater productivity, better punctuality and value for money.
Eurostar’s Chief Executive, Richard Brown, commented: “We are proud and delighted to be ready to carry our 100th million traveller next Friday. Eurostar has created a ‘Eurostar Generation’ of people who have changed their lives because of our service. The number of expatriates living in London, Paris and Brussels continues to grow – indeed London is France’s 6th largest city. Before Eurostar the only way to reach the continent was by boat or plane.
“Our history has certainly been one of great learning. We are preparing ourselves for our 15th anniversary on 14 November and we are looking forward to welcoming the challenges with on-rail competition from next year. However, we are confident that our knowledge of operating across three countries and through the Channel Tunnel sets us in good stead for our next 100 million travellers.”