More and more passengers are letting the train take the strain, particularly across European networks recently, and for holidaymakers who have an aversion to flying, train travel is not only a less stressful alternative, it’s also a more comfortable one. No long security queues at airports and more room for sports equipment or larger bags are just two advantages of travelling cross-country.
Now Eurostar is looking at expanding its routes out of London, specifically up to 10 destinations to four European countries over the next five years. The proposed routes include popular timeshare destinations such as the south of France for summer holidays and Geneva for the ski season.
According to the Financial Times, Eurostar has said it is interested in launching services from St Pancras in London to the Netherlands, Germany, southern France and Switzerland – rivalling flight routes to the same popular destinations.
Train travel to Europe from the UK has caught on for a number of reasons in recent years. These include shorter journey times thanks to higher speed trains and better networks; competitive fares; more flexible baggage limits; and the attractions of the modern London terminal at St Pancras International where passengers can shop and eat before they board.
The high-speed rail line between the Channel tunnel and London has really boosted travel times, and there’s the added advantage of not having to wait for bags to be loaded on to a luggage carousel upon arrival. Train travel has also become more popular during the winter ski season as sports equipment such as skis or snowboards can be taken on board.
Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive of Eurostar said the company will use the liberalisation of European rail markets to launch services across western Europe to destinations including Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Cologne, Lyon, Marseille and Geneva.
"By 2016 and 2017 we would like people when they are thinking about travelling to these cities to consider taking Eurostar rather than flying," he told the Financial Times.