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Last Updated: Monday, 16 October 2006, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Chaos at airports boosts Eurostar
Eurostar queues
Queues built up at Eurostar's Waterloo terminal during the alert
Summer security alerts at UK airports helped swell sales and passenger numbers at Eurostar to record levels.

The disruption saw large numbers of passengers taking the cross-channel train service when flights were cancelled or heavily delayed.

Eurostar carried a record 2.15 million passengers between July and September - up 9.9% on the same period a year ago.

The high-speed trains, linking London with Paris and Belgium via Ashford in Kent, saw sales up 21% to 130.4m.

Business class sales rose 27% in the period and 91.4% of trains ran on time, Eurostar said.

Environmental impact

At the height of the airport disruption, Eurostar brought in extra staff to deal with queues and at times people were blocked from London's Waterloo station concourse for fear of overcrowding.

The company said it expected growing awareness of climate change and carbon dioxide emissions to encourage more passengers to use Eurostar instead of planes.

"We have been surprised and pleased at the increasing number of passengers who say that the environment is a growing reason for switching to Eurostar, and who are prepared to make Eurostar part of longer, connecting rail journeys than in the past," said director of communications, Simon Montague.

Research Eurostar commissioned last month found that passengers flying to Paris or Brussels generated ten times more carbon dioxide than those who made the journey by train.

On Monday, struggling Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel said it saw an increase in the number of cars and trucks using its service in the third quarter, but a drop in coach travel.

Sales between July and September rose 7% to 149.5m but chief executive Jacques Gounon said the performance should be seen "in a context which remains worrying".

In August, a French court granted Eurotunnel's request for bankruptcy protection, giving the firm a six-month respite from debt repayments.

It had failed to reach a deal with creditors to reduce its debt mountain of 6.2bn.


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