Eurostar To Launch Direct Ashford-Brussels, Restore Faster Services

Eurostar, the high-speed passenger rail service linking the United Kingdom to continental Europe has announced that it will introduce a new direct service from Ashford International to Brussels from Monday, 23 February 2009. The new service will begin on the same day that Eurostar restores speed and frequency to its Channel Tunnel services.


From Monday to Friday, the Ashford-Brussels service will originate in London at 0557 hrs, stopping at Ashford International before continuing on to Brussels at 0627 hrs and arriving at the Belgian capital at 0856 hrs. Return services leave Belgium at 1659 hrs in the evening, arriving at Ashford International at 1737 hrs and London at 1807 hrs.


On Saturdays, the train operates only in the UK-Belgium direction, departing London 2 hours later at 0757 hrs, Ashford at 0827 hrs and pulling into Brussels at 1056 hrs. Commuters will also be able to travel to Brussels on Sunday evenings, when the route operates from London at 1821 hrs, Ashford at 1855 hrs and arriving in Brussels at 2133 hrs. Return service from Brussels will depart in the evening at 1659 hrs for Ashford and London.


Eurostar also offers a one-stop service between Ashford and Brussels via Lille. Departing Ashford at 1028 hrs, commuters arrive Lille at 1224 hrs to connect with the 1328 hrs train to Brussels, arriving at 1403 hrs. The return service departs Brussels at 1859 hrs for Lille, connecting to the 2105 hrs service to Ashford, before arriving at 2037 hrs.


The return to full Eurostar service follows the announcement by Eurotunnel, the owner and operator of the Channel Tunnel, that repairs to a tunnel section damaged by fire will be completed by 10 February 2009. Between 10 and 22 February, Eurostar will continue to operate its existing departure times with the normal timetable restored from 23 February 2009. Promising faster journey times, up to 19 trains on the 2 hour 15 minute London-Paris route and up to 10 trains on the 1 hour 51 minute London-Brussels route will be operated daily at full speed.

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