Eurostar to launch direct Amsterdam-London train in December – but Brexit could wreck plans

No-deal Brexit would complicate customs arrangements

Helen Coffey
Friday 27 September 2019 08:29 BST
Eurostar can finally offer direct Amsterdam-London trains
Eurostar can finally offer direct Amsterdam-London trains

Eurostar is finally able to launch a direct train from Amsterdam to London, 18 months after its first nonstop London-Amsterdam service started.

The new service will begin operating from 15 December, unless the plans are scuppered by a no-deal Brexit.

The Dutch government has warned that, if the UK crashes out of the European Union without a deal on 31 October, it would “complicate” customs arrangements.

Prior to this latest agreement, passengers could travel direct from the British capital to Amsterdam in three hours and 55 minutes, but on the return journey were forced to take a Thalys train and change to the Eurostar at Brussels Midi after going through security and customs checks.

These checks will now be conducted at Rotterdam Central and Amsterdam Central instead, enabling a direct return service for the first time.

A Eurostar representative told The Independent the brand is “looking forward to progressing the direct connection as soon as possible”.

The London-Amsterdam route has proved hugely popular for Eurostar. After launching the first service in April 2018, the company upped it to three trains a day to meet demand in June 2019.

The third daily train takes longer than the existing services due to the complications of finding suitable “paths” (the rail equivalent of airline slots).

Its scheduled time is four hours, seven minutes and includes a 17-minute wait at Brussels Midi station.

Mike Cooper, Eurostar’s chief executive, said of the increased number of services: “Our new route to the Netherlands has been met with strong demand from our customers, who increasingly value the ease, comfort and seamless experience of high-speed rail.”

The operator has previously revealed it intends to eventually grow the number of trains to five a day.

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