Eurostar London-Amsterdam LIVE: What it's like to travel on the first ever direct passenger train service

The new service takes just three hours and 41 minutes

Helen Coffey@LenniCoffey
Wednesday 04 April 2018 12:18
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Is the Eurostar train from London to Amsterdam a good deal? Simon Calder reports

The first ever direct train from London to Amsterdam to be open to the public departs from London St Pancras on 3 April 2018 at 8.31am – and The Independent has a bagged a seat on the historic service.

In just three hours and 41 minutes, bar any hiccups, the Eurostar will make its way to Amsterdam station and arrive at 1.12pm (Amsterdam is one hour ahead of the UK).

The much-anticipated service has a limited number of seats left for its inaugural journey, with business class seats costing up to £260. However, there is still no direct return leg; a deal between the UK and the Netherlands on “juxtaposed border controls”, allowing British officials to check passports of passengers at Amsterdam and the intermediate step of Rotterdam, has not yet been finalised.

This means passengers have to take a Thalys high-speed train to Brussels and connect there for Eurostar for the foreseeable.

Follow all the latest from The Independent's journey below

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Boarding has almost finished for the historic first direct passenger service from London to Amsterdam, so spirits are high. People are carrying Netherlands flags; guards are handing out stroopwafels hither and thither. Let's get this party started! 

I've already had quite the adrenaline-fuelled morning having forgotten my passport (yes, really) and doing a mad bike ride home and back to St Pancras. Sweaty and stressed, I think the phrase "hot mess" probably covers it. Let's hope things get better from here. 

Helen Coffey4 April 2018 08:26
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And we're off. It's 8.31am exactly as the Eurostar pulls out of the station, into the sunshine. Just three hours and 40 minutes until we arrive in the Netherlands capital.

Helen Coffey4 April 2018 08:31
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There are just three stops on the new service: Brussels, Rotterdam and, of course, Amsterdam. While the journey there is dreamily fast - and more than a match for the plane - I am less excited about the journey back, which will involve a change of train in Brussels.

Helen Coffey4 April 2018 08:58
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Breakfast is served. I'm not even hungry, but hell yes I'll tuck into smoked salmon and lemon creme fraiche while the British countryside whizzes by in a blur. Already my earlier passport woes are receding in my memory; the whole experience of catching the train rather than the plane feels more decadent, more relaxed, more civilised.

Helen Coffey4 April 2018 09:23
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And we're in France! It feels ridiculously quick, but the bulk of our journey will be conducted in mainland Europe. The sky is blue, the fields are green, the internet is working again and heck - I'm going to have another coffee to celebrate.

Helen Coffey4 April 2018 09:25
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We're now about 35 minutes from our first stop - Brussels. The journey from London to the Belgian city takes just one hour and 48 minutes on this service, quicker than the Eurostar to Paris.

Helen Coffey4 April 2018 09:37
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The stress of the morning has worn off (ie the sweat has finally dried) and I am now officially enjoying myself. There's a pleasant anticipation in the air as we speed across France. I can now fully appreciate how comfortable the ample seat is, the gorgeous amount of legroom and the full table enabling me to use my laptop with ease. It's not a bad office for the day.

Helen Coffey4 April 2018 09:50
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According to my trusty mobile we just passed into Belgium (I was expecting a little fanfare, or perhaps a "Welcome to Belgium!" sign, but alas no). Not long till we hit our first stop of the day.

Helen Coffey4 April 2018 10:05
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Fanfare please... We've arrived in Brussels! It's 11.18am (we're an hour ahead of the UK), meaning if you hopped off here you could enjoy a rich, full daytrip before catching the last service home. Maybe another time; today we'll be staying on the train for another two hours, arriving into Amsterdam at around 1.12pm.

Helen Coffey4 April 2018 10:15
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We've just been given a glass of champagne to celebrate the fastest ever service from London to Brussels - a record time of one hour and 47 minutes. I hope this happens at every stop...

Helen Coffey4 April 2018 10:27

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