TOURISM
New London to Paris high speed trains by 2026 from rival to Eurostar

After a difficult two years for international travel due to restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, services on the high speed rail line between London and mainland Europe are finally starting to return to near pre-pandemic levels. With Eurostar now running 11 trains per day to Paris, five to Brussels, two to Amsterdam and one to Disneyland, the service remains optimistic about its cross-Channel passenger base.

Although the rebound is positive for the ecosystem of businesses which help the Eurostar service run, the downturn did not go unnoticed by the company which owns the Channel Tunnel, Getlink, formally known as ‘Eurotunnel’. Eurostar is Getlink’s biggest customer and each time it runs trains through the tunnel, it has to pay Getlink a toll (which is roughly £30 per customer). At the height of the pandemic, Eurostar passenger figures dropped 95 per cent, which nearly depleted the revenue from tolls.

To future-proof this revenue stream, Getlink is looking to support competitors to Eurostar who could also run trains through the Channel Tunnel to/from London. One of whom, Renfe, the Spanish national train operator, is in ‘advanced’ talks according to media reports after declaring an interest in October. French newspaper Le Parisien reports Getlink is planning to acquire ten high-speed trainsets and rent them out to operators such as Renfe to launch a new service by 2026.

Eurostar currently uses 28 trainsets for its services, half of which are used on the route to Paris at any one time. With 10 trainsets, passengers on the new Getlink-backed service would be able to expect a less frequent service than Eurostar’s, but with the potential of new destinations, new fare schemes and a new service offering, it is a lucrative proposition.

The main obstacle London has in welcoming a new service is the lack of space at its current only high-speed rail passenger terminal, St Pancras International. Currently, all of the passenger terminal space is managed by Eurostar on behalf of High Speed 1, which owns the railway line and stations, and runs at close to capacity. The new service would either have to squeeze into any remaining space at St Pancras, wrestling Eurostar for room or use the never-used international platforms at Stratford International.

The most likely service to emerge is expected to be a Renfe service between London and Paris, with the possibility of direct trains to Barcelona, one of its network hubs. In separate plans, French start-up Midnight Trains has also expressed an interest in running a Edinburgh to Paris sleeper train via the Channel Tunnel and London and the German Green Party, a government coalition partner, presented plans for a European sleeper train network which included routes to London last year.

Source: Mylondon.news

About the author

Related Post

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *