“Travel direct to Avignon, the heart of Provence, in 5h55”, says the ad on the Eurostar website. The operator of Channel Tunnel passenger train services out of the UK is challenging airlines by adding 10 destinations in four European countries over the next five years. The slow but steady liberalisation of Europe’s rail markets is helping Eurostar to launch rail services to, for example, Geneva, Marseille, Lyon, Frankfurt, Cologne and Amsterdam. In the longer term, the operator is planning to establish a second hub beyond London St Pancras International, probably at Brussels Midi/Zuid (Brussels South).
“By 2016 and 2017, we would like people when they are thinking about travelling to these cities to consider taking Eurostar rather than flying,” Eurostar CEO Nicolas Petrovic told The Financial Times.