EUROSTAR carried ten million passengers through the Channel Tunnel for the first time last year – a decade and a half later than its original target.
The train service had been expected to reach the ten-million-a-year milestone in 1998, before being hit by competition from low-cost airlines. The total number of passengers who have travelled with Eurostar since operations began in 1994 has now reached 140 million.
The first commercial service departed from London, Paris and Brussels on 14 November, 1994. By the end of that year, more than 150,000 passengers had travelled between the cities.
Eurostar said yesterday: “Recent signs of a recovery in the UK economy have helped Eurostar attract ten million passengers.”
The group said that record passenger volumes in 2013 were helped by the ninth-warmest UK summer since records began, the European Champions League final at Wembley stadium between two German football teams and a sellout concert in Brussels by the Arctic Monkeys.
Celebrities to use the service this year included David Beckham, Mick Jagger, Madonna, Paul McCartney and Rihanna.
Nick Mercer, Eurostar’s commercial director, said: “With a leap in passenger numbers and the introduction of new routes and new destinations, we are seeing growing demand from customers around the world.”
New routes include direct services to beach and ski resorts.