Train sales up in Europe


Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said in the statement, “Whilst there is still uncertainty about the economic outlook, we have seen a big increase in leisure travel over the last three months, not just from the continent but from overseas markets.”

Cross-Channel train operator Eurostar said that the company’s sales rose by more than five percent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier as passenger numbers rose. The news comes after Eurostar passengers suffered massive disruption in December as winter weather caused trains to stop working.

Eurostar said in a statement that revenue climbed to 178 million pounds (202 million euros, 275 million dollars) in the first three months of 2010, compared with 168 million pounds for the same period in 2009. It added that passenger numbers totalled two million in the January-March period, up from 1.9 million in the first quarter of 2009. The number of travelers from overseas markets outside Europe increased by 22 percent, it said.

According to Petrovic: “We are also seeing growing evidence of travelers wanting to switch from plane to high-speed train for longer, connecting journeys. Ensuring that our customers can enjoy seamless connections to other destinations on the continent is a key priority and we are committed to making that experience easy and efficient.”

Eurostar said passengers could now travel between Britain and Lyon in around five hours and Britain and Marseille in about six and a half hours.

In February, an independent probe condemned Eurostar for failing to prepare sufficiently for winter weather, which led to breakdowns and mass disruption in December.

Eurostar also had no plan to deal with the chaos created when five trains carrying more than 2,000 passengers broke down in the Channel Tunnel in the busy pre-Christmas period, the investigation said.