pounds 49 Paris return in Eurostar takeover

Direct trains to Euro Disney and to the French Alps are being promised as part of the relaunch for the Eurostar train service when it is taken over by a private consortium next month.

The new services are part of a complete revamp of the loss-making service - to be promoted with an advertising campaign featuring Frenchman Eric Cantona, Manchester United's star striker - with the aim of doubling the number of passengers, from its current annual level of 3 million, within the next year.

Other measures include a pounds 49 return fare from London to Paris or Brussels in conjunction with promotions for Virgin Cola, special student tickets - also for pounds 49 - rail travel to the south of France, changing at Lille, for pounds 99 return and to Cologne, in Germany, for pounds 79 return. Business travellers will also be able to interchange tickets between British Midland and Eurostar, taking the train in one direction and flying in the other.

Travellers from Ashford in Kent will be able to buy a pounds 49 return to Paris or Brussels during the school holidays.

London & Continental (L&C) is also introducing direct daily trains to Euro Disney throughout the summer, starting on 29 June, and there will be promotional fares of pounds 49 50 per person for those travelling with children.

This compares with Eurostar's current cheapest fares of pounds 59 to Paris and pounds 69 to Brussels and is much cheaper than the pounds 89 cheapest fare on airlines. Eurostar claims to have already taken around 60 per cent of the Paris leisure market and 27 per cent of the Brussels business market on its trains.

The company is also looking at on-board entertainment, with seat-back videos initially for first-class passengers, and eventually in standard class. There may also be entertainment on the Euro Disney train with magicians, fortune tellers and face-painting for children.

L&C will take over the British part of the Eurostar service - which is also part- owned by the French and Belgian railways - at the end of the month as part of the deal to build the pounds 3bn Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

The idea is that the consortium will be able to use the profits from the Eurostar service to fund the construction of the link and therefore it is essential for L&C to turn the finances around quickly.

Ian Brooks, Eurostar's commercial director, said: "I have staked my job on doubling the number of passengers on Eurostar by next year."

Richard Branson, whose Virgin group is part of L&C, was even more optimistic, saying he hoped by the end of the decade 30 million people would be using the Eurostar trains each year, but this is seen as wildly optimistic by most rail industry observers.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam