It was a sad day for many when, at a KCC Cabinet meeting earlier this year, Eurostar informed us that they would be discontinuing their direct Ashford-Brussels service. Many businesses as well as individuals had specifically relocated to Ashford and the surrounding area on the basis that the transport routes to Europe were so convenient.
Needless to say the service ended, but KCC has continued to lobby and push for the return of this popular service. This week, Eurostar has undertaken a “review of traveller demand”, from which they have found that passenger numbers have increased by a third since the introduction of the High Speed 1 timetable. As a result, a daily direct service between Ashford and Brussels will be introduced from 14th December 2008, when the switch is made to the winter timetables.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive of Eurostar is quoted as saying that he is “delighted” at the big increase in travellers on the London-Brussels route.
But I suspect, nowhere near as delighted as the hundred of business travellers who moved to Ashford because they had a direct rail link to Europe without having to drive into London.