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Eurostar outlines bright new advances in store for Aussies

February 26, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A senior Eurostar International manager visited Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney last week, bringing news of more frequent services and innovations on the train service that has risen to become the number one train journey sold by Rail Europe.

Tuesday-Ann Castle, Eurostar International’s regional manager international sales, is keen to tailor products to the Australian market, given the phenomenal popularity of Eurostar travel among Australians.

Richard Leonard, Rail Europe’s commercial director for Australia and New Zealand, confirmed that Eurostar was the “number one product we sell – a core part of our business”.

Eurostar acted as a funnel for passengers, who then fanned out to see more of Europe, he said. “Some people take it two, three or four times a year.”

Leonard said Australia was number-two market for Rail Europe, after North America, and Castle said Australia was one of Eurostar’s main markets, topped only by Britain and France (naturally) plus Belgium, the US and South Korea.

The London-Amsterdam route is very popular with Australians. A third daily direct service from London to Rotterdam and Amsterdam will hit the rails on 11 June 2019 in response to strong customer demand. The route was launched in April last year.

A Eurostar train passing Strood, southwest England, on approach to the Medway bridge

Journey time is 3 hours and 1 minute from St Pancras station in central London direct to Rotterdam and just under four hours to Amsterdam. On the return leg, passengers connect through Brussels for passport control and security screening.

Castle says initiatives being planned include lots of fam trips. The train is a perfect vehicle for activities such as wine and gin tasting, she added. New trains can carry 900 passengers (150 more than previously) at up to 320 km/h. They are fitted with Standard Class, Standard Premier and Business Premier seating. Passengers can take two pieces of luggage (no weight limit)  and enjoy free Wi-Fi and power to charge their phones and portable devices.

Castle says the extra seats on the trains have been achieved not by squeezing, but by eliminating power carriages. The power component has been integrated into the passenger carriages, under the floor, leaving more room on the train for seats.

In Sydney last week: Rail Europe’s commercial director for Australia and New Zealand, Richard Leonard, with Eurostar International’s regional manager international sales, Tuesday-Ann Castle.

MEANWHILE, as if to prove that Eurostar can cope with the unexpected, it handled schedule changes last week associated with the discovery of an unexploded World War II bomb near Gare du Nord station in Paris. Several services were cancelled while the bomb was made safe and removed.

Another challenge ahead is Brexit. However, according to Castle, Eurostar plans and expects to maintain services on the existing basis and timetable following Brexit.

Two Eurostar trains in London St Pancras railway station


Written by Peter Needham

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