Eurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, has reported continuing growth in passenger numbers and sales revenues in 2014, as the business celebrated its 20th anniversary and unveiled its new e320 trains.
Last year, passenger numbers rose by three per cent to 10.4 million, bringing the total number of passengers travelling on Eurostar since the start of services in 1994 to over 150 million.
Sales revenues increased by one per cent in 2014, to £867 million.
This performance was underpinned, in particular, by the strong recovery in the UK economy which also led to an increase in business travel bookings throughout the year.
In 2014 the number of Eurostar business travellers increased by four per cent when compared with 2013.
The business also achieved year-on-year growth in underlying profitability with like-for-like operating profit up two per cent in 2014 to £55 million.
Following the company’s decision in November 2014 to purchase seven additional e320s to meet growing demand and provide services to new destinations, the reported operating profit for 2014 reflects additional non-cash charges against the value of the existing fleet.
To mark its 20th anniversary in 2014, Eurostar unveiled its state of the art new e320 train at St Pancras International station.
With the e320 due to enter commercial service at the end of this year, passengers can look forward to an unparalleled level of style, comfort and service.
In total, Eurostar is investing over £1 billion in its fleet and its service and will be introducing 17 new trains over the next three years.
Carrying 900 passengers, these Eurostar e320 trains will boost capacity per train by 20 per cent and will be capable of a speed of 320 kph.
With the interiors and external livery designed by Pininfarina, the world famous Italian design house renowned for its iconic car designs, the design boasts a range of innovative features which will deliver an outstanding travel experience for customers.
Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive of Eurostar, said: “Last year was a pivotal year for our business as we celebrated our 20th anniversary and unveiled our new fleet.
“Our new e320 trains are now in the final months of testing and on schedule to come into commercial service at the end of this year.
“As we introduce new trains, upgrade our stations and invest in our service, passengers can look forward to a complete transformation of their travel experience.”