Eurostar passenger numbers rise

Channel Tunnel high-speed train company Eurostar carried an increased number of passengers in the first nine months of this year.

The company, which operates 186mph trains between London and Paris and Brussels, also increased sales revenue in the January-September period.

Eurostar carried 7.3 million passengers in the first nine months of the year - a 1% rise on the same period last year when numbers were boosted by air travellers switching to rail due to the Icelandic ash cloud crisis.

But the latest quarter-year figures - for July-September 2011 - showed passenger numbers dipping 1.6% compared with the same period last year.

Sales revenue rose, increasing from £183 million in July-September 2010 to £197 million in July-September 2011.

For the first nine months of this year, sales revenue has risen 5% to £617 million.

Business passenger numbers for the year so far have risen 3%, with leisure traffic increasing 2%.

Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: "We have delivered a solid performance during both the third quarter and the year as a whole although the tough trading environment across Europe demands a cautious watching brief."