Plans are underway for a significant expansion of train services from London to Europe, with proposals for new direct routes to Germany and Switzerland. Swiss national railways (SBB) is actively working on a new five-hour service between London’s St. Pancras and Basel through the Channel Tunnel, utilizing Eurostar trains. Simultaneously, Spanish firm Evolyn aims to establish a direct link to Frankfurt, Cologne, Zurich and Geneva.

Currently, as the Daily Mail explains, passengers traveling from London to Basel face a cumbersome journey involving three trains, taking approximately six-and-a-half to seven hours. The envisioned direct route would streamline this process, offering a single train journey with a simplified security and passport control procedure. While the timeline for the project remains uncertain, SBB has confirmed the feasibility of the direct link.

Philipp Mader, SBB’s head of international passenger transport, highlighted the potential benefits of a direct train from Switzerland to London, providing a climate-neutral alternative to air travel. However, challenges exist, particularly regarding the expensive infrastructure required for the journey through the Eurotunnel.

The proposed London to Basel link gained momentum after Swiss politician Matthias Aebischer emphasized its significance for environmentally conscious travelers. A redevelopment of Basel station would be crucial for the direct trains to proceed, with discussions involving the Swiss Federal Council, France, Britain, and Eurostar underway.

Meanwhile, Evolyn is making strides in its £1 billion investment project, purchasing 12 trains from French manufacturer Alstom for a high-speed rail service under the English Channel. This ambitious endeavor aims to challenge Eurostar’s monopoly on the route since 1994. Evolyn plans to initiate London to Paris trains from 2025, eventually extending services to other European countries.

However, Independent also informs that experts caution that logistical challenges and Eurostar’s current focus on core routes could pose obstacles to the realization of these new services. Mark Smith, founder of, acknowledged the potential of the proposed London to Basel route but expresses skepticism about its implementation, citing Brexit-related passenger processing capacity constraints at St Pancras.

Despite the hurdles, Eurotunnel’s CEO, Yann Lerinche, envisions a future with increased competition and promises to double the number of direct rail routes from the UK. Eurotunnel has earmarked 50€ million for financial assistance to new entrants between 2025 and 2030, targeting cities such as Cologne, Frankfurt, Geneva, Basel, and Zurich.

While challenges such as station space and passenger processing need to be addressed, Eurotunnel is optimistic about the potential growth in low-carbon mobility between the UK and Continental Europe. The tunnel’s capacity remains underutilized, and Eurotunnel is actively collaborating with train manufacturers and rail authorities to facilitate the introduction of new scrolling stock.

As discussions continue and plans unfold, the prospect of additional direct train services from London to Europe opens up new possibilities for travelers seeking sustainable and efficient alternatives to air travel.

Image of DailyMail

By Martin

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