SOUTH West Trains are now the latest rail operator to team up with Eurostar. In a joint ticketing deal, passengers will be able to book direct trips to Paris and Brussels.
The announcement came as Eurostar said it was now offering fares from more than 200 towns and cities across Britain for the high speed service to the continent.
The company which runs trains from St Pancras International outlined its plans the day after the Government announced an investment programme in high-speed rail to help meet its targets to cut carbon emissions.
South West Trains will now be able to offer Eurostar fares from just £63 return with no airline-style extra charges for check-in, seat reservations or baggage.
City centre to city centre journey times include Basingstoke to Paris in 4h 12 mins, Southampton to Brussels in 4h 33 mins, and Woking to Paris in 3h 58 mins.
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.
Travellers from as far afield as Aberdeen, Bangor and Penzance can now buy connecting fares for journeys through to Paris, Brussels and beyond.
Eurostar has seen high growth in travellers from the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East since it moved from Waterloo to St Pancras International in November 2007.??
Nick Mercer, commercial director, Eurostar, said: “High-speed rail is capturing the public imagination as the new alternative to short-haul air for journeys across Europe.
“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.
“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.”
Friends of the Earth’s campaigner Richard Dyer said: “High-speed rail can provide a viable low-carbon alternative to short-haul flights.”