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1/14/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Eurostar posts record fourth-quarter ridership



European high-speed train Eurostar recorded fourth-quarter 2003 ridership of 1.7 million — the highest passenger count since service was launched in 1994.

Traveling between London, Brussels and Paris, the train carries mostly European passengers, but American ticket sales increased 16.5 percent in the quarter compared with the same 2002 period.

Eurostar also increased its market share compared with European airlines; the service has 66 percent of market share on its London-to-Paris route compared with 13 percent for British Airways. And on the London-to-Brussels route, market share increased to 48 percent while competitors’ share decreased.

The ridership and market share increases are attributed to a new high-speed track that opened in the United Kingdom last September, enabling Eurostar trains to run at top speeds in England. The new track helped reduce travel time between London and either Paris or Brussels by 20 minutes, and increased on-time performance 12 percent. Trains had been running at 186 mph on dedicated high-speed track in France and Belgium, but shared track in England until September.


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