Eurostar lifted back on track by Provence routes

Josh Martin
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Eurostar was boosted by new services to the south of France
HIGH-SPEED train routes to Marseilles, Avignon and Lyon have lifted Eurostar passenger revenue in the three months to 30 June to a new record.

The transport company announced yesterday close to 2.8m customers travelling between the UK and the continent in the second quarter of 2015, a year-on-year increase of three per cent in passengers compared with the same period last year, when 2.7m travelled.

However, it was not enough to offset a half-year slump caused by terrorist attacks in Paris and Eurotunnel closures earlier in the year. As a result, overall sales revenues to 30 June were down two per cent year-on-year.

The second quarter saw the launch of Eurostar’s direct services between London and the south of France, with more than 88,000 tickets sold to date for the new all year round service.

However, services will become less frequent as the summer draws to a close.

As a result, sales revenues for the second quarter rose by 1.5 per cent to £232m compared with the period in 2014, when ticket sales totalled £229m.

Eurostar also cheered a 10 per cent increase in high-yield business premier ticket sales in the three month period, compared with the second quarter of last year. The increase was reported on both sides of the Channel.

Passengers will soon have a revamped travel experience to Europe with a fleet overhaul due by the year end. The plan includes 17 new e320 trains and the redesign of its existing stock. The new trains will reach speeds of 320kph.

Yesterday, chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: “With demand for our services at an all-time high, we are looking forward to the arrival of our new trains.”

In March, it was announced that Chancellor George Osborne was selling the UK’s 40 per cent stake in the rail service for £585.1m. France and Belgium maintain their stakes.

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