Stop gap: until 2022, Eurostar trains will not call at stations in Kent
Stop gap: until 2022, Eurostar trains will not call at stations in Kent

Eurostar will not stop at stations in Kent until 2022

The train operator says traffic has dropped by 90 per cent, with quarantine restrictions partly responsible

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Friday 04 September 2020 08:59
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The next train from Kent to Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam will not be until 2022, Eurostar has confirmed.

It will serve neither Ebbsfleet International in north Kent nor Ashford International in southeast Kent for the remainder of this year and throughout 2021.

The train operator, which runs passenger rail services from London St Pancras through the Channel Tunnel to the French, Belgian and Dutch capitals, blames quarantine restrictions.

A spokesperson for Eurostar said: “Covid-19 has had a severe impact on the travel industry and on our business and we continue to operate in very challenging conditions.

“We have experienced an unprecedented fall in demand, with bookings down by 90 per cent compared to last year. The environment remains very unpredictable and has been exacerbated by quarantine restrictions which are now across all of our markets.”

Anyone arriving in the UK on any Eurostar service is required to go home and self-isolate for two weeks.

The Eurostar spokesperson said: “Given the uncertain outlook, it is crucial that we adapt and take action to reduce our costs so that we protect our business for the future.

“In 2021, therefore, we will reduce our timetable focusing only on our core routes and destinations where we see the highest demand.

“As a result, we have had to make the very difficult decision not to reopen Ashford International or Ebbsfleet International stations before 2022.

“We have not taken this decision lightly and have given this considerable thought, but given the severity of the situation we have to take action.”

Ebbsfleet, close to the M25, was planned to be a “park and ride” station, while Ashford has rail connections from across Kent and East Sussex.

Mark Smith, founder of the Seat61.com international rail website, tweeted: “Throughout 2021, people of Kent might need to rediscover the Dover-Calais P&O ferry from £30 and train direct from Calais to Paris from €15 [£13.50]”

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