Eurostar International Ltd. will link London with the Netherlands by rail starting April 4 in the biggest expansion of the Channel Tunnel express operator’s network since it commenced operations in 1994.
Trains from the U.K. capital will take slightly over three hours to reach Rotterdam and a further 40 minutes before arriving in Amsterdam, Eurostar said Friday. The company has been working on the launch since 2013.
About 4 million people currently travel between London and Amsterdam by air, and Eurostar said it’s targeting a significant share of that market. The company has captured more than 70 percent of the combined London-Paris air and train market, though journey times to the French capital are significantly shorter at two hours 15 minutes.
“We’re very excited,” Eurostar Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Petrovic said in a phone interview. “We said years ago that we wanted to go to many more destinations and adding Amsterdam is really the final piece of the puzzle.”
Dutch services will commence with two departures a day from London St. Pancras, at 8:31 a.m. and 5:31 p.m., Eurostar said in a statement. Passengers making the return trip will initially need to stop in Brussels for passport controls because Dutch stations aren’t yet equipped to make those checks.
Petrovic, who has run Eurostar for seven years, is due to depart this month to become CEO of German engineering giant Siemens AG’s French arm, according to a statement in January. He’ll be succeeded by Mike Cooper, the head of U.K. postal-delivery service Yodel Logistics Ltd.
Eurostar, controlled by French state rail operator SNCF, has said it has few concerns about the impact on travel of Britain leaving the European Union. The Dutch operation is likely to attract a high proportion of tourist traffic, with Eurostar marketing the train as part of a “leisure experience,” Petrovic said.
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