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New destinations and cheaper tickets: How Channel Tunnel rail travel might change in the future

by Staff

The Channel Tunnel operating company says the line has capacity for more services.

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2023 has been full steam ahead for rail transport with a roster of new train routes and destinations announced.

It’s positive news for the future of travel and its carbon footprint, and for the increasing number of travellers hoping to ditch more flights in favour of trains.

In particular, things are looking up for the UK with more frequent and potentially cheaper connections to continental Europe.

Here’s everything we know about what’s planned for the Channel Tunnel in the next decade.

New Eurostar rivals could increase services and cut costs for travellers

In late 2023, new rail operator Evolyn announced plans to purchase a fleet of 12 trains to serve the London to Paris line.

The Spanish-owned firm with mysterious investors aims to launch in 2025. It would be the first time that Eurostar has faced cross-Channel competition in its 30-year history.

In addition, the Virgin Group, founded by billionaire Sir Richard Branson, could also challenge Eurostar’s monopoly.

Although the project is still in its early stages, it reportedly aims to serve routes from London to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.

From 2028, the newly established rail operator Heuro says it will add another alternative to Eurostar between Amsterdam, Paris and London.

“We just want lower prices and [to get] more people off planes and on trains,” founder of the Dutch company Roemer van den Biggelaar told RailTech.

For Amsterdam to Paris, Heuro is planning 16 services per day, while Amsterdam to London will see 15 a day.

Eurotunnel promises train connection from the UK to Cologne and Geneva

New destinations could be coming to departure boards in London in the coming decade.

By 2030, the UK capital will be connected to Cologne, Frankfurt and Geneva, the boss of Eurotunnel – the infrastructure operator between Folkestone and Calais – has vowed.

Yann Leriche, chief executive of the tunnel firm’s parent Getlink, is promising to ‘double’ the number of connections between London and the continent within 10 years.

He says the tunnel has capacity for more operators and the company has set aside €50 million of financial assistance for new entrants between 2025 and 2030.

It is prioritising cities that are popular flight destinations from the UK but could be reached by direct trains from London in as little as four hours.

In addition to Cologne (4h), Frankfurt (5h) and Geneva (5h30), connections to Basel and Zurich are also under discussion.

Swiss national railways (SBB) has announced it is working on a new five-hour service between St Pancras and Basel.

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Currently, the journey involves three trains and takes up to seven hours.

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