Eurostar ends Disneyland Paris trains as Amsterdam route faces suspension for up to a year
Passengers travelling on the Eurostar route to Disneyland Paris will now be forced to change trains
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The final train from London St Pancras to Marne-la-Vallee, a station next to the theme park, departs on Monday (5 June) as the operator focuses on its core routes to Paris and Brussels.
The direct trains to Disneyland have been popular among British families since the service launched in 1996, but commuters will now have to change trains to get to the park, adding time and complexity to journeys.
Eurostar announced its decision to end its direct service in August last year, stating: “Whilst we continue to recover financially from the pandemic and monitor developments in the proposed EU Entry Exit (EES) system, we need to focus on our core routes to ensure we can continue to provide the high level of service and experience that our customers rightly expect.
“Passengers can still enjoy high-speed rail travel between London and Disneyland Paris via Paris or Lille.”
Rail expert Mark Smith, founder of Seat61.com, said the end of direct services between London and Disneyland Paris means families face having to “struggle from Paris Nord out to Marne-la-Vallee on the RER (commuter train service)” - a move he said “doesn’t half put you off”.
He went on: “We have this post-Brexit situation where Eurostar are doubling down on their core service because the terminal capacity at St Pancras has been reduced because of the extra border checks.
“And they’re really worried that when the Etias and the biometrics (under the EES system) come in for entry to the EU, it’s going to get even worse. Until they’ve tackled that, it’s no longer lots of trains to lots of destinations and low fares.
“It’s ‘we’ll run the trains that we can manage to process through the terminal at St Pancras and we’ll get the maximum yield from those trains’. So it’s high fares and an artificially limited train service unfortunately, and it is down to Brexit.”
Meanwhile, Eurostar services to and from Amsterdam are to be suspended for up to a year due to upcoming station renovations. Dutch media reports that infrastructure secretary Vivianne Heijnen has warned that no Eurostar trains will be able to run to or from Amsterdam Centraal, the capital’s main station, from June 2024 until as late as spring 2025, while it is renovated.
The project to expand the size of the international terminal at Centraal station will involve demolishing existing facilities used to conduct passport and security checks.
A Eurostar spokesperson said: "We have received confirmation from the Dutch government that Eurostar will not be able to run the Amsterdam-Route from June 2024 until April 2025. The proposal to move the Dutch departure/arrivals lounge from Amsterdam to Rotterdam is not viable due to capacity and safety reasons.
“Should this be the only option offered by the Ministry, Eurostar Group will be left with no choice but to stop its Amsterdam direct routes. Eurostar is open to compromise and is working with stakeholders to find a solution.”
The operator runs four trains in each direction between London and Amsterdam, with plans to add a fifth service. The capacity of trains from Amsterdam is limited due to restrictions on how many passengers can be processed.
EES is expected to involve travellers from non-EU countries such as the UK having their fingerprints scanned and a photograph taken to register them on a database the first time they enter a member state.
There are fears the scheme, which was due to be introduced this year but has been repeatedly delayed, will cause long queues for travellers.
Once it is introduced, UK tourists visiting most EU countries will also be hit by a seven euro (£6) fee under the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias), which must be paid to grant permission to enter for the following three years.
Extra passport checks due to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU are already limiting the number of passengers that can be processed at London St Pancras.