The media war between the airline industry and high-speed rail in Britain continues to escalate. After claims from airlines that high-speed rails neglected many smaller cities in the UK, Eurostar announced today that it now offers fares from more than 200 towns and cities across Britain for high-speed rail travel to the continent.
Eurostar outlined its plans the day after the government announced an investment program in high-speed rail to help meet its targets to cut carbon emissions.
South West Trains today becomes the latest train operator with which Eurostar is to introduce a joint ticketing deal, with fares from approximately $105 and no airline-style extra charges for check-in, baggage or seat reservations.
Examples of city centre to city centre journey times include Basingstoke to Paris in 4 hours, 12 minutes; Southampton to Brussels in 4 hours, 33 minutes; and Woking to Paris in 3 hours, 58 minutes.
Partnerships with further train operators are expected to take the number of stations offering connecting high-speed fares to more than 300 later this summer.
Travelers from Aberdeen, Bangor and Penzance can now buy connecting fares for journeys through to Paris, Brussels and beyond. Eurostar has seen particularly significant growth in travelers from the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East since it moved from Waterloo to St Pancras International in November 2007.
“More than 200 British cities are now connected to Europe’s high-speed rail network, and with one booking you can travel from almost anywhere in Britain to hundreds of destinations on the other side of the Channel,” said Nick Mercer, commercial director for Eurostar. “We look forward to the launch next year of high-speed rail services between Brussels and Amsterdam, which will put a range of Dutch cities within three to four hours of London.”