Amsterdam-Rotterdam-London, the fastest-growing of Eurostar’s intercity routes, is to close for around six months, Dutch Railways (NS) has announced.
Eurostar trains will run empty on the route between June 2024 and January 2025, picking up London-bound travellers on arrival in Brussels.
Eurostar says passengers will still be able to travel outbound from London to both Dutch cities.
Refurbishment of Centraal station in the Dutch capital is responsible for the closure. There will not be sufficient space to handle London-bound passengers at the station, given the more intensive post-Brexit formalities.
For several months negotiations have been going on between NS, Eurostar, the Dutch infrastructure provider ProRail and the Dutch government.
An NS statement read: “Unfortunately, we have had to conclude that despite all efforts, there will be a period in which there will be no direct train to London from Amsterdam. That period is expected to be six months (approximately June 2024–January 2025).
“That is very disappointing because we have worked hard in recent years to make the Eurostar to London an attractive alternative to the plane. It is a particularly difficult puzzle to solve. If there had been a simple solution, all parties would have seized it with both hands. Unfortunately, after various investigations, that simple solution appears not to exist.
“We have jointly chosen to take a step back in the second half of 2024 and not run a Eurostar directly to London for a while.
“The new, large terminal will be ready from January 2025 and we will have the opportunity to allow many more travel;ers to travel directly from Amsterdam to London. In this way we make Eurostar an even more attractive alternative to the plane for many more travellers.”
Until that happens, passengers from Amsterdam and Rotterdam to London will need to change trains in Brussels.
Gwendoline Cazenave, chief executive of Eurostar Group, said: “Eurostar has always aimed to find a solution that would have the least possible impact on customers, the environment and its business. We acknowledge that a final decision has been made.
“We are pleased that the discussions have shortened the gap in services between Amsterdam and London from 12 to six months and we continue to work on reducing the inconvenience for passengers, local residents and the economy of Amsterdam and surrounding areas.
“|t is very important that all the parties involved are responsible and supportive of each other to meet the deadlines.
“Our focus must now turn to how we can offer the best experience and journey connections for Eurostar customers in this period. As part of this work, we will still run services directly between London and Amsterdam one way as a minimum.”
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies