From underwater trains in Venice to the invention of Russia’s new R-1 super tram it’s plain to see a novelty resurgence in train, tram or track travelling over the past few years. With a broken economy and planes costing almost three times as much as train travel across Europe people are frantically searching for a more viable (and cheaper) alternative to planes.
Last year, a new partnership between Eurostar and Dutch railways meant the expansion of the Eurostar service to incorporate more stops on the European mainland. A new London – Amsterdam service was set up to run direct from London Kings Cross which could be in operation by as early as December of 2016.
Eurostar has always had clear ambitions to “expand its business beyond its existing destinations” and to “encourage passengers to choose high speed rail over plane” for a variety of different short haul European journeys. Now though, the different in price and the access made available by the company might mean that the choice has been made for you.
As well as offering limited services to the Swiss Alps and Provence in the South of France it was announced recently that a service will also run from St Pancras, via Ashford, to the city of Marseille. This service is expected to launch from May 2015.
Pierre Delalande, Head of Public Affairs at Eurostar recently gave the following statement in a press release:
“We will launch a new service to Marseille which will indeed stop in Ashford. It will be an all-year-round service. We would love to have a direct return journey but we have to follow immigration policy. I would also like to see more trains stopping in Ashford that go to both Paris and Lille, as well as Brussels. It will be good to give them competition.”
It is understood that the new Marseille line, which connects the UK capital to France’s second largest city will be direct and uninterrupted with zero changes. Rumours of a greater expansion involving the French city of Lyon, the largest conurbation in France outside of Paris.
But what does all this mean for you? Will the cheaper and more frequent service result in better holidays? Probably.
Historically France’s oldest and most important trading port, Marseille is home to some of the best views, scenery and weather that France has to offer. The city is also home to some of the best museums in the world and a pretty impressive football team. With a history that dates back as far as 27,000 – 19,000 BC this is not a place to miss if you are intrigued by archaic and mysterious buildings.
A city well known for its historical, cultural and architectural landmarks Lyon, when combined with its satellite towns, makes up the largest urban area in France (Paris excluded, obviously). Situated almost half way between Paris and Marseille the new stop could create a much needed travel break in any journey that you are planning. A city of secret passageways and expensive boutiques, Lyon is aching to be explored.
The closest city of the three to London, Lille is located in the north of France between French Flanders and the Deûle River. With opulent grand palaces to explore and a gripping blood-splattered revolutionary history Lille has played host to kings and queens alike. Now you too can wander the cobble stone streets in the footsteps of the legendary Charles de Gaulle.