Full steam ahead for Eurostar's Amsterdam services from London despite Brexit uncertainty

 
Rebecca Smith
Eurostar's soon to offer a new direct route to the Dutch capital
Eurostar's soon to offer a new direct route to the Dutch capital (Source: Getty)

Eurostar is going ahead with its plans to start services from London to Amsterdam in a year's time, despite ongoing uncertainty over the UK's future relationship with the EU.

The cross-Channel high speed rail service said it was seeing "signs of recovery in the trading environment" over the past eight weeks, though passenger numbers were still down; it carried 2.6m for the third quarter, a drop of 10 per cent on last year.

The new Amsterdam service will rival to airlines transporting three million people a year from the capital to Holland. Eurostar is making a "major investment" in its fleet, service and stations to gear up for further expansion.

Read more: Eurostar services through Channel Tunnel suspended due to power outage

Summer demand was weakened after the terrorist attack in Nice in July and sales revenue was eight per cent lower year-on-year at £184m.

But Eurostar said it had been encouraged by an 18 per cent uplift in passenger numbers travelling to London from France during the October half-term holidays.

Giving business a helping hand is of course the fall in sterling. Its value against the euro has dropped up to 15 per cent since the UK's vote to leave the EU, making it much cheaper for euro-users to buy goods priced in pounds.

Read more: More action in Amsterdam as London's float market awaits referendum

Chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: "With the weakening of the pound, the UK is proving to be an attractive destination. The outlook to the end of the year is encouraging with many travellers taking day trips to London to do their Christmas shopping."

He told the FT: "The launch of our Amsterdam route at the end of next year marks a key milestone and represents a significant growth opportunity for the future."

The first test phase of the new Eurostar e320 train on the Dutch network was completed earlier this year, with the next tests scheduled for early 2017.

The company is set to unveil a new international timetable in December.

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