Eurostar May Make a Comeback in Kent Amid Potential Competition for the Channel Tunnel

Eurostar May Make a Comeback in Kent Amid Potential Competition for the Channel Tunnel

Could Eurostar Make a Comeback in Kent Amid Potential Competition for the Channel Tunnel?

Local officials in Kent believe that Eurostar, the high-speed train service that connects London with Paris and Brussels, may make a comeback in the county following the emergence of potential competition for the Channel Tunnel.

Currently, Eurostar holds a monopoly on the cross-Channel route, but recent developments have sparked speculation that other companies may soon join the market. GetLink, the operator of the Channel Tunnel, has announced that it is prepared to offer a subsidy of €50m to help other companies run trains on the route. At least five companies, including Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Dutch company Heuro, and Spain’s Evolyn, have expressed interest in competing with Eurostar.

For Kent, this potential competition could mean a return of Eurostar trains to Ashford and Ebbsfleet, which have not been served by the company since March 2020 due to the pandemic. Local council leaders believe that the threat of competition may incentivize Eurostar to start using these stations again, rather than solely focusing on London’s St Pancras International.

Councillor Neil Baker, transport boss for Kent County Council, expressed the council’s willingness to work with any operator willing to use Kent’s stations. He believes that the return of Eurostar services may happen in the next few years, driven by competition.

While Eurostar has not yet commented on the potential competition, it has stated that its Kent stations will remain closed throughout 2024 and 2025. However, recent financial reports show that the company is making good progress, with passenger numbers increasing by 22% and debt being reduced. This has given hope to local officials that Eurostar may reconsider its decision and resume services in Kent.

The possibility of Eurostar making a comeback in Kent has also been supported by a petition that has received almost 57,000 signatures since its launch in March. The campaign behind the petition, Bring Back Euro Trains, argues that the company may be spurred into action by the potential competition “waiting in the wings.”

For now, Eurostar has not made any official announcements regarding its plans for Kent. But with the emergence of potential rivals and the improving financial situation, the future may hold a return of Eurostar services to Ashford and Ebbsfleet, bringing convenience and economic benefits to the county once again.

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