Firstly I must stress that this measure applies only to the above route within Benelux. In other words that linking Brussels with Amsterdam via Rotterdam.
The news was broken this week not to the media but instead to the travel trade.
Ostensibly the reason given by Eurostar was to enable it to simplify its fares and “remove a layer of complexity” from its booking system.
Personally I find this puzzling. After all Eurostar considers itself an airline rather than a train firm, and how many airlines would not sell empty seats because of “complexity”. Try giving that excuse to Netherlands’ airline KLM.
On Wednesday evening I checked eurostar.com for a Brussels-Amsterdam ticket over the coming days, and was greeted with “Sorry, no trains are available on this date”.
There are now three direct London-Amsterdam services calling at Brussels. So the above message signifies ticket sales have already ceased.
I agree that there were three trains a day (compared to the number provided by incumbent high-speed Thalys) but users say the fares were keener than those of Thalys and that a snack was served onboard to premium class passengers.
One wonders whether this move is a result of the Eurostar merger with Thalys.
Another minus point (of the Eurostar/Thalys merger) has been Thalys’ axing in July of its popular Izy train linking Paris with Brussels.
Again no credible reason was provided by Thalys, but it is known that the operator is short of rolling stock.
So why would Thalys devote one of its existing trainsets for a service which may or may not be such a good earner ?
Before the pandemic Izy was using an 18-car Alstom set leased from Eurostar, but during the pandemic (when Izy ceased operations) that particular set was towed away to be scrapped.
*****UPDATE: Mark Smith’s comments below have been echoed by rail firm boss Elmer van Buuren.
He says, “It saves Eurostar the time and hassle of clearing the half of the train used for Brussels-bound passengers [coming from Netherlands] in Brussels on the train destined for London.” [The train must be cleared under instructions from UK Border]
“That means a shorter stop in Brussels. Reservations on this route [the route mentioned in our copy] have not been possible for some considerable time.
“So theoretically a benefit for London-bound passengers.”*****