Eurostar has reported a large increase in travellers from the Continent to the UK, in particular from Germany and The Netherlands.
Traveller numbers from Dutch cities such as Amsterdam have increased by a third (34%) compared with last year, and even larger from Germany (38% higher).
The high-speed train operator says the increases are part of the continuing Europe-wide trend from plane to train for short-haul journeys, reflecting the continuing expansion of the European high-speed rail network.
The journey time of as little as 5h05 between London and Amsterdam via Brussels is already comparable with overall journey times via airports in London and the regions, and will come down further with the launch of high-speed services between Brussels and Amsterdam in 2010.
The overall time between London and Cologne is as little as 4h40 comparable with the door-to-door journey time by air and with a new high-speed line between Belgium and Germany this time is set to come down even further, toward the end of 2009.
Nick Mercer, Commercial Director, Eurostar, said: “Travellers are now recognising the advantages of high-speed rail for longer trips across Europe. They’re realising that it’s possible to avoid the airports for journeys beyond Eurostar’s own cities in Belgium and France, by making simple connections that carry them onward to destinations in neighbouring countries across Europe.
“With new high-speed lines in Germany and The Netherlands, Europe’s high-speed rail network continues to expand. By 2020, passengers will be able to travel faster point-to-point by high-speed rail than by plane on nearly half of Europe’s busiest air routes.”