Eurostar Revamps Services In A Bid To Lure Fliers

Long-distance train travel is making a comeback with Eurostar announcing plans to expand its services. The high-speed train, which primarily serves London, Brussels and Paris, has its sights set on new destinations across the European continent.

Eurostar says its entire system is undergoing an overhaul – from the booking process, to the routes, to the trains themselves. The company’s website has been given a facelift in order to create a more user-friendly booking portal, and brand new uniforms have been designed for the crew. Updated trains are also in the pipeline and are expected to be up and running by 2015.As far as network expansion goes, Eurostar says it has its eye on a number of possible routes including London-Holland and London-Germany. Eurostar’s Chief Executive Nicolas Petrovic says he will be looking closely at routes that currently have a lot of air traffic. He told CNN he hopes travelers will eventually come to think of train travel the same way they think of flying.

Eurostar’s overhaul comes in the wake of stiff competition from German train line Deutsche Bahn, which has said it will offer trips across the Channel Tunnel starting in 2016.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Mike Knell]

Photo Of The Day: St. Pancras

It’s five years this month since the Eurostar began its run from the renovated St. Pancras train station. The station remains a tour-de-force of a hub. This may be the only train station in the UK that feels truly European, and not only because it connects to the European train grid. St. Pancras is densely useable and grand, with a real buzz – like a train station of yesteryear, the sort of place you might have read about as a child. Flickr user nan palmero captures some of the station’s buzz in the above image.

Upload your best images to the Gadling Group Pool on Flickr. We choose our favorites from the pool to be Photos of the Day.

[Image: nan palmero | Flickr]

New High-Speed Rail Service From The UK To The Alps

Whether you’re a ski fanatic or simply a lover of natural beauty, the Swiss Alps are a destination on many people’s bucket lists. Now there’s a new way to get there.

A new partnership between Eurostar and Lyria, a high-speed Swiss train operator, brings us a day-long journey from London to Switzerland offered every Saturday from December 22 to April 13. The train zips along at over 300 kilometers per hour, making the trip a quick and simple daylong affair.

Stop at Aigle, Martigny, Visp and Brig or change trains in Lille to access the resort towns of Verbier, Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Villars and many others. The French resort towns of Chamonix and Portes du Soleil.
are also accessible.

The journey is even fairly affordable … just £189 in standard, and first class on Lyria from £299. Thanks to A Luxury Travel Blog for alerting us!

[Image credit: Eurostar]

London Olympics 2012: One year to go celebrated today

The 12-month countdown to the greatest sporting show on earth is under way this week as London reaches the one year to go mark for the 2012 summer Olympics. Today, Olympic athletes from across Europe come together at a star-studded day marking the occasion along with fans invited to Eurostar’s London 2012 Olympic celebrations.

Over the last few months, thousands of Olympic fans have entered competitions to win the chance to be part of Eurostar’s ‘One year to go’ celebrations. Arriving from countries including France, and Belgium, competition winners and athletes will be joined by winners from the UK to be greeted by double world champion and Olympic silver medalist Colin Jackson and others then join them in having their foot prints cast in clay as they symbolically mark the first steps on the way to the 2012 Games

“This is such a wonderful opportunity for members of the public to experience the London 2012 Olympic Games firsthand” Jackson told the Hillingdon Times.

.Following a welcome speeches from dignitaries, winners will then be transported to a celebration lunch held at an London restaurant with stunning views over the Olympic Park where Jackson will be their host for the remainder of their unique experience.

As the Official International Rail Services Provider to London 2012, Eurostar will bring hundreds of thousands of sports fans from the continent to London.

Flickr photo by spcbrass

Gallery: More travel sketches from BBC’s Tim Baynes

We wrote yesterday about Tim Baynes’ delightful travel sketches from around the world on BBC and liked them so much we came back for more. You can (and should!) get lost for hours looking at his drawings on Flickr with fun anecdotes and scribbles bringing depth and humor to his slice-of-life artwork.

Check out some of our favorites in the gallery below, from a look inside the BBC Starbucks to the madness of Dubai immigration during the ash cloud to a quiet barbershop in Tripoli.


See more of Tim Baynes’ work on the BBC, his personal Flickr stream, or order a copy of his book Doors to Automatic and Cross Check, direct from the artist.

All photos courtesy of Tim Baynes.