Faster train travel to London
On 7 July 2020 in Brussels, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom signed the treaties enabling faster train travel to London. On behalf of the Netherlands, State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven (Infrastructure and Water Management) subscribed her signature to the agreements on border checks and security. With effect from this autumn, passport and security checks will be conducted in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, obviating the need for alighting in Brussels. This will cut travel times by one hour.
‘Currently, we are still living in Corona time, but we are also looking ahead. In the immediate future, trains will take you from Amsterdam to London in a good four hours, comfortably, easily, and rapidly. No more hassle with checks and stopovers in Brussels. Eurostar trains seat roughly twice as many passengers as an average aeroplane, whilst CO2 emissions are considerably lower. This makes train travel to London a sustainable and fully-fledged alternative to flying,’ to quote State Secretary Van Veldhoven.
Originally, the first direct Eurostar between Amsterdam and London was scheduled to depart by the end of April. However, passenger numbers have dropped significantly as a result of the Corona crisis, which is why Eurostar terminated its service between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in March. This has also put the test phase for the direct connection (without a stopover in Brussels) on hold. Now that the Corona measures are being relaxed and travel movements are picking up, Eurostar will resume its daily service between Amsterdam and London on 9 July. Depending on the Corona-related developments and thus the number of travellers, the intention is to have this train run twice a day in August, and followed, in the autumn, by a third daily train. In the autumn, the direct service from Amsterdam to London will also commence.
One of the commitments that the Netherlands is taking on by signing the treaties is to ensure – in the Netherlands – the security of trains travelling through the Channel tunnel. The detailed agreements are based on the existing security treaty for Channel tunnel train services, which France, the UK, and Belgium set down in 1993.