EUROPE: Direct London – Amsterdam high speed services will begin on April 4, cross-channel high speed operator Eurostar announced on February 9. Offering a journey time of 3 h 41 min between London St Pancras and Amsterdam Centraal, Eurostar will run an initial two trains per day. However, there will be no direct Amsterdam – London trains until at least the end of 2019 because border and security checks will continue to be undertaken in Brussels, requiring passengers to change trains.

The operator confirmed that the UK and Dutch governments had agreed to introduce so-called ‘juxtaposed’ customs checks in Amsterdam and at Rotterdam Centraal ‘by the end of 2019’, which would enable passengers to clear security before boarding a direct Eurostar service to London as they already do at Paris-Nord and Brussels Midi.

In the interim period, Eurostar told Railway Gazette that it will operate two Amsterdam – Brussels trains to complement the existing Thalys high speed service between the two cities.

As the London – Amsterdam trains will not serve Lille Europe, the fastest London – Brussels journey time will fall by 17 min to 1 h 48 min.

‘The launch of our service to the Netherlands represents an exciting advance in cross-Channel travel and heralds a new era in international high speed rail’, said Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar. ‘Our new route marks the culmination of the extensive investment in high speed rail on both sides of the Channel. With enhanced connectivity on the European network passengers can now enjoy fast, seamless rail connections between the UK and mainland Europe.’

An interview with Eurostar Chief Executive Nicolas Petrovic will appear in the March 2018 issue of Railway Gazette International.