Dutch high-speed train services under threat as Eurostar faces bankruptcy
It feels as though Eurostar only just launched their high-speed service between Amsterdam, Rotterdam and London, and it really has been only a few months since the rail company launched their direct route between the three cities - something that very few people have been able to make use of thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
But now, ongoing financial issues within the company mean they may have to cancel services if they don’t receive government support soon.
Eurostar Rotterdam - London route could be the first to go
The Amsterdam - Rotterdam - London service has been running since April 2018, and since October travellers have been able to make it to the UK capital in four hours or less. But over the last year, Eurostar saw their passenger numbers drop by 85 percent, putting the company in a “very critical condition.”
And the situation only seems to be worsening, thanks to fears of the new, highly contagious coronavirus mutation, stricter border checks following Brexit, and a mandatory coronavirus test for all passengers before they’re even allowed to board the train. The number of passengers has now fallen by 95 percent.
Eurostar requests support from French and British governments
Christophe Fanichet, CEO of the French rail company SNCF that co-manages Eurostar, told journalists this week that, without government support, Eurostar would not be able to meet its payment obligations from April onwards.
Eurostar is co-owned by SNCF, Canadian Patina Rail, and Belgian rail company NMBS. But, with the company’s headquarters located in London, it hopes the British government might offer some help. 25 British business leaders and scientists have asked Transport Minister Grant Shaps to support the company, but seeing as the government sold its stake in 2015, it no longer sees Eurostar as British.
France, on the other hand, is adamant that the location of the company's headquarters makes it British - not French - and so also refuses to offer financial aid. If Eurostar doesn't get the support it needs, the company could be bankrupt by spring.
Thumb: (c) Sam Todd 2020 via Eurostar.