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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 April, 2005, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Easter travel boost for Eurostar
Eurostar train
Eurostar has managed to poach more passengers away from airlines
A record number of travellers using Eurostar over the Easter weekend has helped to lift quarterly sales for the cross-Channel rail operator.

Eurostar said sales had also been boosted by more business travellers using trains instead of planes.

Passenger numbers on the routes between London, Paris and Brussels were up 5.5% to 1,695,000 in the January to March period on a year ago.

Sales in the first quarter of the 2005 financial year are set to rise 10%.


As a result of a shake-up in its strategy, the rail operator has made travelling on the service more attractive to premium paying passengers.

Power sockets have been introduced in first-class carriages and stations now have executive lounges.

But Eurostar's punctuality record sagged a bit during the quarter, due, it said, to adverse weather conditions.

Eighty-three percent of trains arrived on time against 89% in the same period a year ago. However, this was still better than the punctuality rate of airlines, Eurostar said.

Having refurbished more than 50% of its fleet of trains, the company said it was planning further initiatives later in the year.

When the phase two of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link opens in 2007, Eurostar will begin its services at St Pancras rather than Waterloo.

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