A European city break always sounds like an excellent idea, doesn't it? You picture yourself jetting off on the Friday night, G&T in hand, and arriving back on Sunday in time for a good night’s sleep. The reality? Things don’t always go so smoothly.
Short breaks to the big European cities often involve setting your alarm for 2am to get to the airport and make it through a loooong security queue in time for a hellish budget flight. The worst. But travelling from London to Amsterdam is about to become a lot more pleasant, thanks to Eurostar. The high-speed railway service will introduce a direct route from London to Amsterdam by the end of the year, the Evening Standard reported.
Eurostar will begin by running two trains a day from St Pancras International to Amsterdam city centre, a journey that will take under four hours. (Which sounds heavenly compared with the 10-hour coach journey I once took there – never again!)
London to Amsterdam is one of the busiest plane routes – more than three million people make the journey each year – so the new train route will likely spark a price war with airlines including British Airways and easyJet, reported the Standard. Eurostar currently offers one-way tickets to Paris and Brussels for as little as £25.
“We will compete with the low-cost airlines on price, speed, ease, convenience and quality of service," said a Eurostar source.
A direct Eurostar route between London and Rotterdam is also reported to be in the “final stages of preparation” and will launch after the Amsterdam route, the Standard reported.
“With demand for high-speed rail over plane on the increase we are gearing up to expand our reach to Amsterdam and Rotterdam,” Nicolas Petrovic, Eurostar's chief executive, said.
This Sunday also sees the launch of Eurostar's new e320 trains between London and Brussels, which is the next stage in the development of the Amsterdam route. The new greater-capacity train has been running on the London-Paris route since 2015.