From 5th January 2010, the direct morning service from London St Pancras International and Ashford International will no longer run on Tuesdays or Saturdays except during school holidays, industry journal Travel Weekly has reported.
Eurostar blames the impending cut-back on the need to cut costs due to the recession.
“It’s a reflection of the prevailing economic conditions and particularly a reflection of demand from the UK,” said Eurostar spokeswoman Lesley Retallack. “The exchange rate doesn’t help, and families are having to look at their budgets. Eurostar has to ensure it uses its capacity efficiently and if it can make savings it will. This is very much about being sensible and practising good housekeeping.”
Eurostar added that the services could be reinstated if demand increased again. According to the report, a spokesperson for Disneyland Paris declined to comment on the basis that the cut-backs were decided by Eurostar. Nevertheless, senior vice-president sales and distribution Norbert Stiekema said: “It is due to lack of demand from the UK market, which prefers to use the Friday service.”
All this is a contrast to Summer just last year, when Eurostar actually ran a second direct train to the resort during the Summer months. However, it was only several years ago that the trains went from running certain days only to a full daily operation.
The demand may not be there currently, but hopefully Eurostar will be ready to react as soon as the market changes. With the continuing Euro/Sterling currency problems, there are enough barriers already for guests looking to book from the UK. Other (later) trains are of course available, with a change at Lille, but this swift 2 hour 30 minute service has become a key selling point for the European resort.
Image © Eurostar/Disney.