Eurostar now looks likely to delay its London to Amsterdam service until late 2017.
Originally Eurostar had planned to run through trains from London to Amsterdam starting this coming December.
But indications of a delay to the start date emerged late last year. See Online news, November 18, 2015.
Now Eurostar’s CEO Nicholas Petrovic expects the service to be launched in late 2017.
The reasons for the delay haven’t been made clear.
A spokesperson for Eurostar would only say “Our new service to Amsterdam is key to our growth ambitions and we are very much looking forward to launching this route.”
“Work is progressing well, but as lots of factors to introducing a new rail route are outside of Eurostar’s control, it’s not possible for us to fix a date for all of these elements.”
News of the delay came yesterday as Petrovic revealed to the railway press that Eurostar will be running a test train over the route next month.
This is essential because, as explained many times in Business Traveller, the Dutch railway network has different technical standards to those in neighbouring countries.
And this is one of the reasons why Eurostar bought a new fleet of Siemens e320 trainsets. The latter can cope with a wider range of power supplies than can the existing 25-year old Alstom trainsets. And this will enable the train company to operate outside its limited Eurostar network.
Petrovic indicated to the International Rail Journal that while Eurostar would prefer the border checks (for London-bound trains) to be carried out in Amsterdam, it would seem more likely they would have to take place at Lille.
In any case Amsterdam would be the originating station. What about those passengers who would be joining en route at Schiphol, Rotterdam and Antwerp?
Until now it was thought that UK border checks for all passengers would be made at Lille which would have meant passengers and their luggage having to disembark.
However there is still much detail to be sorted out. Matters will only become clearer nearer the launch date.