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Eurostar trains to Amsterdam back on track for the summer

Double Dutch: Eurostar will not have to suspend its Amsterdam service this summer (Eurostar )
Double Dutch: Eurostar will not have to suspend its Amsterdam service this summer (Eurostar )

Eurostar announced on Wednesday that it will continue to run trains to Amsterdam this summer after finding a solution to the part-closure of its terminus station in the Dutch capital.

It had been feared that Eurostar would have to suspend its 186mph service between St Pancras and Amsterdam for five to six months from June while Amsterdam Centraal station undergoes a major renovation.

But the cross-channel operator said trains will continue to operate to and from the station – though the frequency of direct services will be reduced from four to three a day, and London-bound passengers will have to change trains at Brussels.

This will add either 48 or one hour 48 minutes to the UK-bound journey time, depending on how quickly passengers pass through passport checks, which will move to Brussels until the work at Amsterdam is completed.

It came as Eurostar said passenger numbers on all its services increased by 22 per cent last year to 18.6 million, returning it to pre-covid levels of demand and putting it on target for 30 million passengers by 2030.

Its London to Amsterdam route saw the biggest year-on-year growth of 38 per cent, followed by London to Brussels at 33 per cent and London to Paris at 25 per cent, which remains by far its best-used route.

Gwendoline Cazenave, chief executive of Eurostar, said: " Our goal is to encourage more people to take the train so it's a win for customers and a win for the planet.

“We have a bold vision to reach 30 million passengers by 2030, and growth in 2023 of +22 per cent versus 2022 show we are strongly on our way.”

Eurostar expects to transport up to two million passengers to Paris for the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer. Team GB athletes will travel on Eurostar to the Games.

Last year it merged with European rail firm Thalys to increase its network to five countries, including Germany.

It had originally been feared that the renovation of Amsterdam Centraal could force Eurostar to suspend services for a year. Studies were undertaken to find options to keep trains running.

Under the temporary timetable, which will start on June 15, passengers from Amsterdam will be able to choose from eight trains a day to Brussels.

At present the St Pancras to Amsterdam journey typically takes three hours 57 minutes direct, calling at Lille, Brussels and Rotterdam, and four hours 12 on the return leg.

The renovation work at Amsterdam Centraal will include a new Eurostar terminal. Eurostar has been assured that the upgrade will be completed by Christmas.

Ms Cazenave said: “The construction of a new terminal is vital for passengers, who will be able to increase their numbers significantly when it opens.”