Eurostar heads down under after long hiatus

Channel Tunnel operator to work closer with Australian trade

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Tuesday-Ann Castle, Eurostar International - Regional Manager International Sales with Rich Leonard, Rail Europe
Tuesday-Ann Castle, Eurostar International – Regional Manager International Sales with Rich Leonard, Rail Europe Commercial Director, ANZ

Eurostar‘s renewed focus on international markets has seen the 25 year-old rail operator send an executive to Australia for the first time since 2011.

Tuesday-Ann Castle, Regional Manager International Sales for Eurostar International was in the country this week for a whirlwind visit of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, to meet with trade partners, with the view to grow business and develop products specific to the Australian market.

Eurostar is the number one train journey sold by Rail Europe. “It’s a core part of our business in Europe,” said Rich Leonard, Rail Europe Commercial Director, ANZ.

“To have Eurostar come over to this market and engage with us and spend some time here to understand our distribution and how we work, and what the general appetite is here for train travel and travel in general is testament to our strong relationship,” Leonard said, adding the partnership has been “very important” over the past quarter century.

Castle said Australia was Eurostar’s sixth largest source market, behind the UK, France, Belgium, the U and South Korea.

She said her mission down under was to understand how customers in the Australasia market are purchasing the product, enabling Eurostar to come back and offer “the right product and the right prices”.

“We are obviously just one part, one product, of usually a very big European holiday. We really want to drill it down and have specific offers for each market to attract customers,” Castle explained.

She said the 3-hour and 41-minute London-Amsterdam route which launched with two daily services in April 2018 has been successful and the company will look to add further daily frequencies later in 2019.

Fourteen new trains with a capacity of 900 travellers have also been phased into the fleet, providing 150 more seats that the older models. The older trains have since been retrofitted to feature a like-for-like cabin product, offering Standard Class, Standard Premie and Business Premier seating. The newer fleet of trains can travel slightly faster than the old, topping out at 320km/hr compared to 300.

Onboard there is free wi-fi included and passengers are able to carry two pieces of luggage with no weight restrictions.

While Eurostar may not have had a physical representative in the Australian market for the past eight years, Rail Europe’s strong strategic investment with the company has meant it has always had a voice here.

“Our relationship with Rail Europe has been strong over that 25 years. We are very much looking forward to continuing that,” Castle said.

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