Eurostar will not serve stations in Kent before 2022, as a result of timetable changes made in response to COVID-19.
A Eurostar spokesman told RAIL: “COVID-19 has had a severe impact on the travel industry and we continue to operate in very challenging conditions. We have experienced an unprecedented fall in demand, with bookings down by 90% compared with last year.
“The environment remains very unpredictable and has been exacerbated by quarantine restrictions which are now across all of our markets.
“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.”
The European Rail Campaign criticised the move in a statement, saying: “We urge Eurostar to revise its plans so that the present reduced services will return to near normal if the COVID-19 crisis ends before 2022.
“We urge the UK, Belgian and French governments to step in and ensure Eurostar can cover any losses sustained until the crisis is over, just as the airlines have so loudly demanded. As trains are a more sustainable transport mode than air travel, they should have priority for government support.”
- For the FULL story, read RAIL 914, published on September 23, and available digitally from September 19.
- For the latest on how the pandemic is affecting the rail industry, read RAIL 914, published on September 23, and available digitally from September 19.