Eurostar has finally confirmed the launch date of its much-anticipated new service between London and Amsterdam.
The route will launch on April 4, with tickets available from February 20 and prices starting from £35 each way.
The outbound journey from St Pancras International to Amsterdam Centraal will take three hours 41 minutes, with a morning service leaving at 0831, and a late afternoon departure at 1731.
Customers travelling between London and Rotterdam will benefit from a direct service of just over three hours.
On the return journey travellers will initially have to take a Thalys train from Amsterdam or Rotterdam and change at Brussels-Midi/Zuid to go through security – there are then a choice of up to ten daily services between Brussels and London.
Eurostar says that this inconvenience “is only a temporary thing”, adding that “The UK and Netherlands governments are both working hard to find an agreement that will allow us to check travellers’ passports before departure from the Netherlands, as we already do in most of our other destinations”.
But note that “temporary” could mean a period of almost two years, as Eurostar says that “The governments have committed to putting this agreement in place by the end of 2019 so that Eurostar travellers can then enjoy a direct service in both directions”.
In the meantime Eurostar has published what it says are the best connecting journey times departing Amsterdam and Rotterdam for London. Of these the 0617 and 1617 departures from Amsterdam offer a fastest connecting service of four hours 40 minutes.
It had been speculated that the launch of the Amsterdam service might be delayed while government security and immigration arrangements were finalised.
It’s also worth noting that the London-Amsterdam service, which stops at Brussels-Midi/Zuid enroute, will result in what Eurostar says is its fastest ever journey time between London and Brussels of just one hour 48 minutes (17 minutes faster than the normal Eurostar service between the two cities).
Earlier this week Business Traveller reported that Eurostar is in talks with Dutch Railways about an even faster service between London and Amsterdam from 2019.
The high-speed rail operator recently unveiled new environmental targets as part of its Tread Lightly programme, including a commitment to reduce the use of plastics by 50 per cent by 2020.