For many years Eurostar has been operating a popular seasonal service between London and the South of France.
Originally it ran as far as Avignon, but in recent times it was extended to Marseille.
Naturally one thought the route would not operate this year owing to Covid-19.
But what will surprise many is Eurostar’s intention to suspend the route in 2021.
Eurostar has made no mention of the above decision and if I not seen a recent tweet from Seatsixtyone’s Mark Smith I would not have known myself.
NO SOUTH OF FRANCE EUROSTAR IN 2020 or 2021. Eurostar now say they won’t be running their direct train from London to Lyon, Avignon, Marseille this summer, or (and this is the real surprise) in summer 2021. Very sad news indeed. pic.twitter.com/3vI0q3Un0p
— The Man in Seat 61 (@seatsixtyone) June 24, 2020
Why is this happening?
Eurostar emailed Business Traveller to say its focus is now on routes between capital cities which have the highest demand and shorter journey times.
“We have therefore decided to cancel our South of France service for the remainder of the summer season and for the 2021 summer season.”
Eurostar says it wants to offer passengers a comfortable onboard experience.
“Whilst our services operate with restrictions on food service, the compulsory wearing of masks, significantly increased hygiene measures and high-frequency cleaning – these standards are more challenging to maintain on long distance services.”
However, it ought to be noted that Trenitalia operates an even longer route: Turin to Reggio di Calabria.
And in May, Trenitalia began the distribution of safety kits to passengers using its mainline trains.