Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service that
links the UK and mainland Europe, is to launch a direct service between Ashford International and
Brussels from Monday 23 February 2009.
The new service will begin the same day that
Eurostar restores faster and more frequent services through the
Channel Tunnel, with up to 19 trains per day between London and
Paris, and up to 10 per day between London and Brussels.
The return to a full Eurostar service follows
the announcement by Eurotunnel, the owner and operator of the
Channel Tunnel, that repairs to the tunnel section known as
“Interval-6” will be completed by 10 February. This allows
Eurostar to plan and implement the switchover from its current
Between 10 and 22 February, Eurostar will
continue to operate its existing departure times, with some trains
likely to arrive earlier than currently timetabled.
From 23 February, Eurostar will return to a
normal timetable with all services operating at full speed, and
fastest non-stop journey times of London – Paris 2h15, London –
Brussels 1h51 and London – Lille 1h20.
Eurotunnel’s progress in repairing
the tunnel means the introduction of the Ashford - Brussels will
come earlier than recently expected. The service was originally
due to have been launched in December, but was delayed because of
the tunnel incident.
With the return to full tunnel capacity, the
optimum pattern of Eurostar departure times will be restored,
removing any gaps in the current timetable which have been caused
by the reduced tunnel capacity.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive, Eurostar said,
“We’re delighted that the growth in passengers on the London –
Brussels route since the opening of High Speed 1 has enabled us to
reintroduce a direct link between Ashford International and
Brussels, and we very much hope it will prove attractive to
“We’re also pleased that business travellers
across the south east who value the convenience of Ebbsfleet
International, just off the M25, will be able to enjoy high-speed
journey times of roundly two hours or less to the centres of Paris
The launch of Southeastern’s high-speed commuter
services on High Speed 1 in December 2009 will further enable
Eurostar to offer a big increase in connecting services between
Ashford International and Brussels. There will be a total of seven
inbound and outbound services connecting via Ebbsfleet
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