New Eurostar route strength­ens town’s con­nec­tions to Con­ti­nent

Train firm an­nounces plans for di­rect route to three stops in south of France

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Business Update - By Sa­man­tha Wil­liams

Eurostar has con­firmed its plans to ex­pand its ser­vice to France.

The train com­pany will launch a new di­rect route to three stops in the south of France from Ash­ford next year, strength­en­ing the town’s high-speed con­nec­tions to the Con­ti­nent.

From May 1, pas­sen­gers will be able to travel di­rect from Ash­ford In­ter­na­tional Sta­tion to Lyon, Avi­gnon and Mar­seille up to five times a week.

The re­turn jour­neys will be semi-di­rect and will see a nec­es­sary change in Lille, due to immigration is­sues.

The an­nounce­ment means Ash­ford will boast di­rect ser­vices to France’s three largest cities – Paris, Mar­seille and Lyon – as well as Lille.

Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil leader Cllr Gerry Clark­son said: “This is ex­tremely pos­i­tive news and re­in­forces the strate­gic im­por­tance of Ash­ford In­ter­na­tional Sta­tion as a driver for future pros­per­ity within the bor­ough.”

Cllr Clarskon added the ex­pan­sion of ser­vices would pro­vide greater op­por­tu­ni­ties for leisure and busi­ness trav­ellers, boost lo­cal tourism, and make Ash­ford even more at­trac­tive as a busi­ness lo­ca­tion for com­pa­nies trad­ing with France.

The news comes hot on the heels of re­cent rail use fig­ures which place Ash­ford In­ter­na­tional in the top 6% of the busiest sta­tions in Bri­tain, with over 3.3 mil­lion do­mes­tic pas­sen­gers a year.

Plans for the new ser­vices were first re­vealed in the KE last month af­ter Eurostar’s head of public Af­fairs, Pierre De­la­lande out­lined the pro­pos­als at a coun­cil trans­port meet­ing.

Cllr Clark­son added: “Ash­ford’s lo­ca­tion is one of its most sig­nif­i­cant as­sets and the fact that it is in­cred­i­bly well con­nected and ac­ces­si­ble makes it a vi­brant hub for busi­nesses.”

Fur­ther de­tails about the fre­quency and jour­ney times of the new Eurostar ser­vice to Mar­seille are ex­pected to be re­leased later this year, with tick­ets go­ing on sale in De­cem­ber.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Eurostar ser­vices from Ash­ford and to plan your jour­ney, visit

Pic­tures: Paul Amos FM2587094/iS­

Ash­ford Coun­cil leader Cllr Gerry Clark­son wel­comed Eurostar’s an­nounce­ment to ex­pand des­ti­na­tions from Ash­ford, which will in­clude Mar­seilles, bot­tom right

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