For Journalists & Press

Eurostar Reaches Record Traveler Numbers Thanks To Boost From UK’s First High Speed Line

  • Record 9.1 million travellers carried in 2008 – an increase of 10.3%
  • Ticket sales are up 10.9%
  • Faster journeys, better connections and environmental concern drive demand

White Plains NY – January 14, 2009 - Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service that connects London to Paris and Brussels, achieved record numbers and ticket sales in 2008 following the first full year of operations on the High Speed 1 dedicated high speed track.

Passenger numbers broke the nine million mark for the first time with 9.1 million travellers – an increase of 10.3% from 8.26 million in the previous year. Ticket sales also reached a record level, rising by 10.9% over 2007.

All Eurostar bookings made in the US through Rail Europe on now generate a simple e-ticket code which travelers can use to collect their tickets from one of the e-ticket machines at Eurostar stations. This enables business travelers from the USA to enjoy a check-in time of just ten minutes and allows leisure travellers the convenience of a 30 minute check-in time.

Eurostar continues to achieve high levels of punctuality with 92.4% of trains arriving on time or early in 2008. This compares favourably with the latest available UK arrival/departure punctuality figures for airlines competing on Eurostar routes between London and Paris which is just 65.4% (Jan – Nov 2008)

Rail Europe and Eurostar believe that while the short-term outlook for 2009 is challenging, the long-term prospects for high-speed rail are good. Eurostar’s record numbers demonstrate that travelers prefer high-speed rail and continue to switch over from short haul air travel because rail journeys are more punctual, more convenient, and have less environmental impact.