Listen up train-lovers and adventure-enthusiasts: I come bearing some rail-y exciting news. A series of brand new, high-speed train services from London to various European cities could be up and running within the next six years, according to Eurotunnel owner, Getlink.
The Eurotunnel opened to passenger trains back in 1994, and for the (almost) thirty years since, Eurostar has held the monopoly over the tunnel. They currently run direct routes from St Pancras International to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. However, at an event ahead of Eurotunnel’s 30th anniversary, Yann Leriche (CEO of Getlink) said that there was plenty of room for more operators and more routes to be added. Ooh la la, indeed.
Focus will be on prioritising routes to cities that already have a large aviation market and there are three cities at the top of that list: Cologne, Frankfurt and Geneva. Whilst, of course, the trains won’t be quite a speedy as the airborne alternative (each route estimated to take between four and five hours each way), there’s nothing quite like sitting back and watching the world whizz by from a train window (a la nineties music video). Plus, rail travel is far more environmentally friendly – so you can spend that extra journey time in the comfort of knowing that you’re doing your bit for the planet.
Getlink predicts that we could start to see these brand-spanking new routes appear in as little as five years time. And here’s the juiciest bit: it’s unlikely that Eurostar will be the company delivering these new routes. New Spanish firm, Evolyn, and Dutch start-up company, Heuro, have both publicly announced their interest in rivalling Eurostar and operating these new services.
There are currently around twelve trains using the tunnel per hour. There’s scope to increase this to sixteen per hour and maybe even more in the future. Let’s just hope that more trains, more destinations and more competition means cheaper fares. All aboard!