Eurostar Celebrates 18 Years Of Cross-Channel Service

International high-speed rail operator Eurostar today celebrated a milestone in its history, commemorating the company’s 18th year of operations. UK Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin joined Eurostar Chief Executive Nicolas Petrovic, passengers and crew at London’s St. Pancras International to mark the occasion.

Since its launch in 1994, Eurostar has carried more than 130 million travellers. In its first month of operation, the trains shuttled 38,000 passengers between London, Paris and Brussels. Over the years, ridership has steadily increased, averaging more than 830,000 a month in 2012.

The company’s fleet of 27 first-generation trains now connect the UK with 5 stations in continental Europe. The hubs of Paris Gare du Nord and Lille-Europe offer passengers convenient connections to other high-speed and regional services in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Featuring 750 seats in 3 service classes across 18 carriages, Eurostar’s rolling stock offers conveniences to rival the airlines, including quiet coaches and gourmet dining. These are in the midst of an interior upgrade by Italian design house Pininfarina and will be joined by 10 new second-generation trainsets from German manufacturer Siemens.

As it continues to seek new areas of expansion, the company is poised for more competition on its cross-channel routes. German rail operator Deutsche Bahn is planning a connection between Frankfurt and London via Brussels, linking the cities within 5 hours of travel time using its ICE trainsets.

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