Front Page







World Summary

On Air


Talking Point


Low Graphics


Site Map

Thursday, February 5, 1998 Published at 23:30 GMT


Record rise in Eurostar passengers
image: [ An increase of almost a third in passenger numbers for January ]
An increase of almost a third in passenger numbers for January

The number of passengers on high-speed trains through the Channel Tunnel grew by 32% in January, according to operators Eurostar.

A record 412,734 people used Eurostar trains to Paris or Brussels last month compared to 312,117 in January 1997.

The figures confirm a recovery in passenger levels following a well-publicised fire on a freight shuttle in November 1996, which raised serious concerns about train safety in the Tunnel.

[ image: A fire in 1996 raised safety fears]
A fire in 1996 raised safety fears
Eurostar said the passenger increase followed growth of 23% last year, when just over six million people travelled by train through the Channel Tunnel.

This Saturday's rugby union international between France and England in Paris is expected to provide a further boost, with extra trains being provided to meet the increased demand.

More than 15,000 passengers are expected to use the service over the weekend.

The news comes after the British government gave London and Continental Railways (LCR) a month to come up with £1.2bn needed to build a high-speed rail link from London to the Channel Tunnel.

The link between St Pancras and Folkestone via Stratford in east London would allow the Eurostar trains to run at, or near, their 186mph top speed, and cut journey times from London to Paris and Brussels by 35 minutes.

The British government rejected an LCR request to lend the company extra money.

LCR said it needed the money to make up a shortfall in funding from the private sector.

If it fails to fund the extra funding from private sources, the business will be taken into the public sector.

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage


[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]
Relevant Stories

31 Jan 98†|†UK
How Chunnel rail link hit the buffers

29 Jan 98†|†UK
Prescott rejects £1.2bn Chunnel link rescue

Internet Links


UK railways on the Net

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.