Eurostar is developing a direct London to Bordeaux route and is also likely to launch a service to the Riviera, the president of Channel Tunnel operator Getlink has said.
Jacques Gounon said the plans would follow on from the existing successful London-Amsterdam, London-Paris and London-Brussels services.
“We’re working on London-Bordeaux and, in my view, another eventual market – with more talk about cutting carbon emissions and stopping private jets, etc – is London-Riviera.
‘The Riviera remains very attractive to the British’
“The Riviera remains very attractive to the British,” he said in an interview on the Europe 1 programme La France bouge.
Asked how soon these could start, he said: “When it comes to railways, diplomatic relations, Franco-British relations, etc, the slightest bit of progress takes a bit of technique, a lot of conviction, and months and months and months. We’re looking at around five years.”
Getlink was involved in talks for a London-Bordeaux line in 2018-20 with several French and UK rail line owners but no operator agreed to take it on. At the time, it was planned the trip would take less than five hours.
Eurostar, which is majority-owned by France’s SNCF, recently said it is stopping its regular London to Disneyland Paris trips during summer next year. It cited the impacts of Covid and Brexit and the need to get ready for the introduction of the EU’s Entry-Exit system from next May.
This will involve the need for non-EU citizens entering the Schengen area to provide additional personal and trip information at the border.
No decision has been given for the Disneyland route for 2024.
Eurostar’s stops at Ashford and Ebbsfleet in Kent remain shut. The UK government has called on the firm to re-open them as soon as they are commercially viable.