9 APRIL 2018
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Long-haul rail travel took a major step last week as Eurostar’s first London – Amsterdam service departed from St Pancras Station for the 3hr 41min journey via Brussels and Rotterdam.
Incoming chief executive Mike Cooper, who joined the train operator from delivery firm Yodel shortly before the launch, called it “an historic milestone for Eurostar and the growth of international high-speed rail”.
Among the first passengers, Simon Calder, travel editor for The Independent newspaper, noted Eurostar was in a strong position to compete with airlines thanks to customers not having to face “onerous” baggage restrictions.
He added: “The security screening process is relatively gentle, with no ban on liquids above 100ml (and) on board, passengers can access reasonable mobile-phone coverage, even in the Channel Tunnel, and better-than-average travelling wi-fi.”
And rail expert Mark Smith, who runs the travel website The Man in Seat Sixty-One, told the paper: “This is a massively important air route, and most importantly high-speed rail can get you there in under 4hr.
“These days, if you can go from the centre of one city to the centre of another city in under 4hr, then you can start competing for both business and leisure travel on that route.”
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John BAXTER-SMITH, England
Only shame is because of the UK's Bonkers regulations it is not possible for them to run the return journey. Like the Ski Train where everyone had to be herded off WITH all their luggage wasting an 1 1/4 hours or more. Crazy.