Eurostar to Amsterdam: Train operator takes on airlines with £30 tickets from London

A fares war on one of Europe’s busiest routes is about to break out.

The train operator Eurostar is selling tickets for direct trains from London to Amsterdam for a flat £30 in a short-term promotion.

The same price applies to Rotterdam, and saves £5 on the normal lead-in fare.

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But for the return journey there are neither direct trains nor £30 tickets, due to problems with passport checks in the Dutch cities.

The cheap Eurostar tickets are available for booking only on 12, 13 and 14 February, for travel between 25 February and 28 March. 

The deal is being sold only to Facebook and Twitter users through Eurostar’s special cut-price portal, snap.eurostar.com. Like previous promotions to Paris and Brussels, users can request only morning or afternoon travel. But since there is only one morning and one afternoon train to Amsterdam, no guesswork is required.

The £30 is more expensive than the cheapest deals on easyJet from London area airports. Test bookings from Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and Southend to Amsterdam are available at £24 or less on 5 March.

An airline spokesperson said: “easyJet flies between London and Amsterdam up to 21 times a day and carries over 2.2 millon passengers annually.

“We remain focused on our own strategy of growing our network, including at Amsterdam and providing easy and affordable fares.”

Flights on Vueling from Luton start at £27.

A spokesperson for British Airways, which has one-way fares from £28 and allows 46kg in cabin baggage, said: “We know our customers enjoy the choice of 20 flights from London a day, with airports to suit travellers starting their journey from all across the region. 

“And with a flight time of just 80 minutes, they’ll sampling a beer by the canals long before the train pulls in.”

But Eurostar points out that it runs between city centres and that there are no extra charges for baggage. It also claims that the journey from London to Amsterdam produces only one-fifth of the CO2 of an airline passenger.

Fast track: the route map for Eurostar’s link from London to Amsterdam (Eurostar)

The train operator launched the link from London St Pancras via Brussels and Rotterdam to Amsterdam Centraal in April 2018. The firm says the link has proved so successful that it is increasing services by 58 per cent – adding an extra daily service from June.

The journey to Rotterdam takes just over three hours, and to Amsterdam just under four hours.

The continuing problem with services returning from the Netherlands, however, is that no facilities are currently available for passport and security checks in Amsterdam or Rotterdam. As a result, passengers must travel by Thalys train from either Dutch city to Brussels, where they board a Eurostar service to London.

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Eurostar hopes that facilities will be in place by the end of 2019 and that direct services will commence in both directions. Until then, many passengers take the train to Amsterdam but fly back – which also allows them to dodge UK Air Passenger Duty. One-way air fares from Amsterdam to London airports are as low as £15.

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