17 NOVEMBER 2014
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It might still be someway off, but Eurostar has confirmed the introduction of services from London to Antwerp, Rotterdam, Schipol Airport and Amsterdam itself “by early 2017”. Earlier plans for the service were not fulfilled due to incompatibility with the Dutch rail system. Last week the Anglo/French company announced its new E320 trains (320kph/ 200mph) designed for all European networks coming into service in 12 months' time.
Eurostar is now 20 years old and has carried 150m passengers. Next May it will introduce all-new year-round services from London to Lyon, Avignon and Marseille.
Nicolas Petrovic, Eurostar's Chief Executive, said at the London St Pancras occasion: "Over the last 20 years, we have led the way in cross-Channel high-speed rail travel, cementing the link between the UK and mainland Europe.
"Our 20th birthday represents a key milestone for our business and marks the start of the next phase of growth and expansion. With this substantial investment in our fleet, our stations and the on-board experience, passengers can look forward to an exciting future."
Even in the prototype form shown at St Pancras the E320 is impressive. It can carry 20% more passengers (900+) than the original train, and is 20mph faster. Whether that is translated into shorter journey times remains to be seen. www.eurostar.com
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