GOOD NEWS AT LAST – SPICE comes to LONDON St Pancras International.

In case you wondered, SPICE stands for St Pancras International Capacity Enhancement. This is a project led by HS1(who own the station) to help determine the best way to expand the capacity for international train services serving the station. They plan to do this by producing 3 separate reports in June, July and August this year. This is something that we have been campaigning for in recent years – let’s now hope that the reports actually lead to some concrete action in the not-too-distant future. AND ALSO – IF YOU LIVE IN KENT >>> In case you missed it back in March there was a very informative webinar run by Bring Back Euro Trains at, discussing the campaign to


Since the opening of the Channel Tunnel almost 30 years ago, Getlink (Formerly Eurotunnel) may have finally understood the need to make it easier to run more passenger trains through the tunnel. Evolyn, Heuro, Swiss Federal Railways and Virgin all announced last year tentative plans to launch new services via the tunnel. HS1 who own St Pancras International Station and the high-speed line to the tunnel have also stated that they want to increase their income from track access charges paid by train operators. Will this mean that some of the many barriers for new entrants to this market will finally be removed? Getlink plan to double the number of high-speed electric trains using the tunnel during the next 10



Through our membership of the European Passenger Federation (EPF), we passed on our concerns to our EPF reps for the first high level meeting held with the new Eurostar on the 19th of January. EPF sent reps from the UK, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Eurostar have acknowledged that they needed better contingency plans to deal with the large number of passengers affected at times of major disruption. They also seem to be making some progress with plans to introduce better through ticketing arrangements between the UK and European stations not directly served by Eurostar. For example, German Railways (Deutsche Bahan) have recently re-introduced through ticketing on Eurostar from London to and from German destinations. Unfortunately, there is still no


At the end of the 2023 Xmas & New Year holiday period, the Eurostar service to and from London St Pancras was cancelled for the best part of a day. These incidents both occurred during the busiest time of year: – one just before the Xmas holiday and the other just before the New Year Holiday. Several thousand people were left stranded and had their holiday travel plans ruined. In both cases, we have to ask – are Eurostar maintaining their trains in a good condition and are HS1 looking after the infrastructure? We also have to ask them both why it took so long to get services back to normal and rescue passengers from a stranded train? One morning,

EVOLYN came in OCTOBER, then HEURO arrived in NOVEMBER, will it be VIRGIN in DECEMBER?

Despite the many obstacles put in the way of train companies running high-speed trains between the UK and Europe, recently 2 consortiums have made public announcements of their plans to compete with Eurostar. While others have come and gone over the years, maybe this time we will eventually enjoy some real competition with a more frequent and cheaper service. Competition in recent years seems to have brought significant benefits to passengers using the high-speed lines in Spain and Italy. It remains to be seen whether any of these plans will see the light of day. On the 11th of October, EVOLYN (a Spanish-led consortium of various investors) announced plans to order 12 trains for a service through the channel tunnel


Earlier this month Georges Gilkenet the Belgian Transport Minister gave a very positive interview at the RailTech 2023 conference held in Brussels. He outlined the long-term commitment his Government has made to develop the rail network over the next 10 years. During the interview he made clear the importance of rail in helping the Belgian Government meet their targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He also confirmed his commitment to develop Brussels as a night train hub by announcing that night trains will pay no track access charges or energy costs in Belgium for the next 2 years. You can find out more here at:, where he gave a 12-minute interview in English. This is in marked contrast to


Last October, we posted an item highlighting how Eurostar has been effectively strangled since the start in 1994 from reaching it’s full potential. We then sent letters to various media outlets based on this item – in case you missed it see the monthly news item on 12th October 2022 at . Although it was not picked up by the National Media it was published in full in the December issues of Modern Railways, Todays Railways-Europe and Railwatch. Later on, in early February another fortnightly publication called Rail covered the topic in 3 separate articles in the same edition, including one by Christian Woolmar in his regular column. These articles all explained how and why Eurostar could not charge


EUROPEAN PASSENGER FEDERATION(EPF) 20th ANNIVERSARY EVENT  On January 13th the European Passengers’ Federation (of which ERC(UK) is an associate member) marked its 20th birthday with a special event at the European Parliament in Brussels. ERC(UK) and the German association PROBAHN helped sponsor the event, and two of our members attended along with 35 other colleagues from Continental public transport users’ associations, lobbyists and decision-makers.  The event was hosted by Irish MEP Ciaran Cuffe and speakers included representatives of the Community of European Railways, ALLRAIL plus train campaigner and blogger Jon Worth.   Topics covered in the presentations and discussion embraced cross-border services and passenger rights.   For a full report see: TO EUROPE BY RAIL/SEA/RAIL One of the few convenient links to Europe


It will soon be 3 years before Kent lost its’ direct Eurostar services from Ashford and Ebbsfleet with no sign of them returning anytime soon. Since then, Kent residents have had to double back to London St Pancras and pay extra just to take a train across the channel to Europe. We are now asking Eurostar to offer free or reduced fares on the connecting HS1 services from Ashford International & Ebbsfleet to St Pancras run by South Eastern Trains. In the meantime, the choice of cross channel ferry services from Dover to Calais for foot passengers is substantially reduced. DFDS no longer take foot passengers on any of their services and P & O have limited foot passengers to


Before the Channel Tunnel opened in 1995, you could always buy a paper train ticket from most UK stations to most destinations all over Europe. Since the start of Eurostar services from London, it has become harder to buy a through ticket to many destinations beyond France, Belgium & The Netherlands. An easy connection at Brussels onto Germany is complicated by the fact that a Deutsche Bahn ticket for Germany is not valid on a Thalys (now part of Eurostar) service to Cologne. Thanks to rail campaigners all over Europe there is finally some hope on the horizon. Back in October, a formal agreement was announced by all main train operators across Europe that they will adapt their ticketing systems