Tickets to go on sale in February for new rail service expected to challenge airlines
Rebecca SmithersFri 9 Feb 2018 11.00 GMT
Eurostar direct rail services between London and Amsterdam will begin on 4 April, the company has announced, in an eagerly awaited move expected to spark a price war with airlines.
Tickets for the two daily trains – starting from £35 one way – will go on sale on 20 February. The services will allow passengers to travel from St Pancras station in central London direct to the Netherlands in three to four hours.
More than 4 million passengers a year fly between London and Amsterdam, making it one of Europe’s busiest air routes as the Netherlands grows in popularity as a key business and tourism hub.
The cross-Channel rail operator is set to challenge established airlines on the route, including British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair. It will target potential converts by saying a London-Amsterdam Eurostar journey emits 80% less carbonthan the equivalent flight.
Plans for the service were first announced in September 2013 but the official start date has been subject to numerous delays while immigration and passport controls were agreed.
These issues mean direct services returning to London will not be in place until the end of next year. Passengers travelling from Amsterdam and Rotterdam will have to connect through Brussels for passport controls and security screening until the two governments complete an agreement allowing passport checks to be conducted in the Netherlands.