Eurostar trades fewer services for longer trains

Eurostar is dropping some of its services from December, the company has confirmed.

Those planning to visit friends and family this Christmas, or hoping to swing by their holiday homes in either London or Paris, should keep a close eye on timetables, as the train operator has said that it will be reducing the number of trains crossing the Channel.

The news arrives as the company faces a “challenging environment”. Indeed, the firm has seen delays this week, due to power supply problems in the Channel Tunnel, but has also spent 2016 recovering from issues such as flooding, the attacks last year, as well as airline staff strikes. In the first seven months of the year, tourism arrivals to France by air dipped 5.8 per cent. However, the Eurostar saw a surge in bookings when the summer arrived, fuelled by football fever surrounding the Euros.

Indeed, while a spokesperson for the company said that 2016 is “a challenging environment for all travel companies” and that the firm needs to “manage our costs very carefully”, Eurostar is also extending some of its trains. Its new e320 stock introduced earlier in the year have 20 per cent more seats, which means that it can cater to a greater capacity of customers while operating fewer trains.

Unions expect the effiency measures to result in around 80 job losses, with Eurostar saying that cuts would be achieved through voluntary redundancy or sabbaticals as much as possible.

“The timetable in December will have a reduction in some services. We haven’t said which trains they are. The main reason is we have introduced new trains with bigger capacity,” a spokesperson told the BBC.


Eurostar adds more Alps trains to meet spring skiing demand

14th September 2016

Eurostar is adding more trains to its ski service to meet high demand. For the first time in almost a decade, the international train company is upping its service to cater to the snowballing interest in travelling to the French Alps during 2017’s February half-term.

The week-long holiday, which takes place at the peak of the ski season, has always been popular for those keen to take to the slopes. Indeed, when Eurostar launches its first batch of tickets for its ski service in July, they rapidly sold out. Today, though, more went on sale, with four extra services added to the service, two outbound trains (leaving London on Saturday 11th and 18th February) and two return trains (returning on Sunday 12th and 19th February).

Eurostar’s overnight service does not have couchettes, so passengers will not be able to sleep in a fold-down bed, but they will be able to get to the slopes both quickly and cheaply, with short transfers to favourite resorts, such as Courchevel and Méribel.

The move from Eurostar again highlights the sheer strength of tourist interest in the French Alps, something that is key to fuelling the area’s property market and boosting interest from investors.


Eurostar launches high-speed route to French Alps

20th July 2016

Eurostar launches a new high-speed route to the French Alps today, giving tourists a quick route straight to the slopes.

Winter adventure lovers can now catch the Eurostar’s signature high-speed passenger rail service from the UK not just to Paris, but to the very heart of the French Alps. The route connects London St Pancras and Ashford International.

The services will run day and night direct to the Alps, designed to provide a hassle-free lift to the peaks, with passengers able to relax in spacious surroundings on board and make the most of the generous baggage allowance to carry plenty of ski gear – each passenger can take two suitcases plus hand luggage and skis or snowboards at no extra cost.

The Friday overnight service gives winter sports enthusiasts an extra two days on the pistes, arriving in the French Alps on a Saturday morning to be welcomed by quieter slopes as other holidaymakers board their coach transfers to and from airports. Alternatively, the Saturday daytime service allows passengers time to sit back and watch the French countryside turn from farmland to fresh snow.

The inaugural seasonal ski services will run weekly from 17th December 2016 until 8th April 2017 with return fares from £149. Top resorts including Courchevel, Meribel, Tignes, Les Arcs and Aime-la-Plagne are all a short journey from Ashford station.

Tickets went on sale from 9am today (20th July) and is expected to give a boost to a property market that has already enjoyed strong growth in the last year. Indeed, events such as the Tour de France have helped to boost the French Alps’ appeal to summer as well as winter months, fuelling interest from investors.

“These days, our clients see their property purchase as bricks and mortar with benefits – a long-term investment, whose primary purpose is to improve their quality of life. Secondly, we’re noticing more and more buyers asking about the summer. Suddenly, July and August in the Alps are fashionable again, and it’s beginning to change the balance of power between the high-altitude ski areas, and their lower, lusher neighbours. I’m delighted. Both trends bode well for the long-term health of our business,” comments Francois Marchand, Director of Erna Low Property.

“Sales volumes are up, revenues are up, and so too is the average price of each property sold.”

Photo: Doggettx