No Eurostar to London from the Netherlands for six months
Between June 2024 and January 2025, no Eurostar trains to London can depart from the Netherlands, NS International announced. This 6-month interruption of direct travel is shorter than the previously estimated 11 months and is due to renovations of Amsterdam Central station.
Over the last few months, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management, the Dutch rail infrastructure manager ProRail, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) and Eurostar have been collaboratively investigating how to continue the direct train service between the Netherlands and the UK, despite extensive renovations planned at the Amsterdam Central station.
That station will receive a comprehensive makeover from 2024 onwards, to facilitate the Netherlands’ high-frequency rail programme (PHS). This means that the Eurostar lounge and terminal have to make way in order to make room for construction, and there is no room for the required security, customs, and passport control area. Post-Brexit administrative formalities, such as border controls, require more station space. Departure from the second stop in the Netherlands, Rotterdam, is also not possible because of limited space for the required border controls.
6-month closure a “disappointment”
Various solutions to keep the direct London – Amsterdam and London – Rotterdam connections rolling were explored. For example, a temporary customs tunnel under the river Amstel, which would however not be ready in time. As such, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management, the Dutch rail infrastructure manager ProRail, NS and Eurostar had to conclude that no direct train to London will be able to run from the Netherlands for a period of 6 months, between June 2024 and January 2025 approximately. Dutch travellers or visitors travelling from London to the Netherlands thus have to depart or arrive in Brussels and transfer to another train. The Eurostar to Brussels and Paris – formerly the Thalys – will continue to run directly from Amsterdam Centraal, Schiphol Airport and Rotterdam Centraal.
“This is a great disappointment because recently we have been working really diligently to make the Eurostar to London an attractive alternative to air travel,” commented NS International in a press release. “It has been a particularly difficult puzzle to piece together. If there had been a simple solution, all parties would have seized it with both hands. Unfortunately, after various investigations, we have to conclude that such a solution does not exist. Together, we have chosen to take a step back in the second half of 2024 and not run Eurostar directly to London for a period of time,” adds NS. Starting in January 2025, the new, larger terminal in Amsterdam will be completed. Eurostar trains will then travel directly between Amsterdam and London “more frequently” according to NS.