Eurostar trains from London to Amsterdam to be suspended for almost a year - why
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Eurostar trains from London to Amsterdam will be suspended for 11 months next year, leaving passengers possibly having to resort to taking a flight to reach the Dutch capital. According to Euronews, the suspension is due to renovation work on Amsterdam’s main railway station, reducing the space available for carrying out post-Brexit security checks.
The reduction in service, which will take place from June 2024 to May 2025, comes as Eurostar ends its services from London to Disneyland Paris this week due to Brexit-related red tape. This will result in the network being reduced from a pre-Brexit total of 13 year-round stations to just four: London, Lille, Paris, and Brussels.
The suspension was needed as there will be a lack of space to complete passport and luggage checks for the Eurostar’s London service at Amsterdam Centraal, meaning the four daily services that run from Amsterdam to London would not be able to carry out post-Brexit security checks.
However, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure hopes it can speed up the completion of the new Amstel Passage, which will see the Eurostar terminal relocated to a passage beneath the station.
Originally slated for completion in spring 2025, the terminal could be partially open by late 2024. This would reduce the closure time from 11 to seven months. Once the passage is complete, it will more than double capacity for departures to the UK.
Vivianne Heijnen, Minister for the Environment, said in a letter to Parliament last week:“I am aware that this outcome has a negative impact on the passengers and the ambition to replace short-haul flights with trains.
At present, Amsterdam Centraal can accommodate a maximum of 250 passengers per train for Eurostar’s London service. However, the Eurostar service can still operate to Rotterdam, which is just 40 minutes away from Amsterdam via local train services. It is important to note that Rotterdam station has a lower capacity of 160 passengers, which may make it an impractical alternative.
For travellers who are determined to travel by train, there is the option to connect with Eurostar and other cross-country train services in Paris or Brussels. A new service called European Sleeper has recently been launched, offering transportation from Brussels to Amsterdam.
Since the UK’s departure from the European Union, train stations that receive services from London have had to implement passport and baggage checks. This requirement necessitates additional staff, time, and space within the stations.
Due to the delayed implementation of the EU Entry/Exit System (EES) and limited capacity at terminals across Europe, Eurostar has been reducing its services from the UK. In 2022, the peak capacity of the operator decreased by 30 percent as a result of Brexit-related border checks.