EUROPE: Cross-Channel high speed operator Eurostar expects to launch a third daily train between London and Amsterdam in June 2019, reflecting the initial success of the route which was launched with two trains per day in April this year.

Eurostar reports that it has already carried more than 130 000 passengers on direct trains between London, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. These currently operate as a through train between London and the Netherlands, but inbound passengers to the UK must change trains in Brussels, where border and security checks are carried out.

A Eurostar spokesman said that the third train would be ‘an interim measure’ pending completion of staff training and border facilities at Amsterdam Centraal and Rotterdam. An agreement between the UK and Dutch governments for controls to be undertaken in the Netherlands, enabling passengers to have a direct journey to the UK, is expected to be finalised by the end of 2019 at the latest, Eurostar says.

Once a direct service can be operated in both directions, Eurostar says it expects to operate up to five trains each way per day. The London – Amsterdam journey time is 3 h 41 min. Services are operated in co-operation with Thalys, which like Eurostar is majority owned by SNCF and which provides connections with Eurostar at Brussels, and Dutch national operator NS, which provides drivers to Eurostar between Brussels and Amsterdam.

NS Chief Executive Roger van Boxtel told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad on October 23 that he was ‘overjoyed’ about the success of the service. ‘This development is good for the environment. In addition, I think it is important as a major opponent of Brexit that the two countries remain connected.’