Eurostar, the high-speed passenger rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, announced an increase of 2% in passengers numbers in Q3 2015. The month of July was particularly strong with Eurostar carrying over 1 million passengers which is the highest number of passengers travelling in one month since services began in 1994.
The company also announced 7% year-on-year increase in the number of business travelers that choose the comfort and ease of high speed rail travel between the UK and European destinations.
The increase in passengers in Q3 reflected, in part, the popularity of the new direct all year round South of France service, as well as a number of high profile events in September including the Rugby World Cup and the staging of Fashion Week in both London and Paris.
The new South of France service, stopping in Lyon, Avignon and Marseille, which launched on May 1st this year gathered momentum over the summer period as passengers were keen to experience this new alternative to the short haul airlines.
To date, over 115,000 tickets have been sold for the service with customers appreciating the city centre to city centre route and the opportunity to enjoy the changing landscape from the north of France to the Mediterranean. Whilst the British have long enjoyed a love affair with Provence, 1 in 3 travellers travelling on the South France service were experiencing the cultural dynamism and gastronomy of Lyon and Marseille for the first time.
In addition to being a gateway to the South of France during the summer months, the new Eurostar service is also proving popular among ski enthusiasts as Lyon provides a convenient link to the French Alps with easy road and rail connections to a range of popular ski resorts.