Large-scale renovation of Amsterdam Central Station cancels the Eurostar train service between the Dutch capital and London, starting in June 2024. Although the Dutch Government believes the work could be completed in seven months, the suspension is likely to run until May 2025.
Amsterdam’s main railway station will be undergoing a major rebuilding work starting next year, moving the new Eurostar terminal to one of the passageways under the tracks and therefore displacing the customs area. As the project won’t be complete before the end of May 2025, passengers will not find a direct cross-channel train service between the two capitals, beginning June of next year.
In a briefing on Friday, June 2nd, Vivianne Heijnen (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management), indicated lack of space to accommodate passport checks and baggage screening as the main reason for the suspension, since those safety procedures will not be guaranteed during part of the renovation.
The Minister estimates that, once the rebuilding work is complete, approximately twice as many passengers will be able to depart safely from Amsterdam to the UK, compared to the current situation.
Initially, it seemed like there would be no space at the Amsterdam Central to accommodate this need. However, an alternative was found at the station and is included in its 2024 renovation plan. Last year, the minister said she still hoped that Eurostar could continue to function during the redevelopment of Amsterdam’s mail railway station. She asked ProRail to do everything possible to achieve this. Researched show the option to be, indeed, possible, but very complex. For that reason, ProRail was not in favor of this.
1. A financial hit
Eurostar, currently offering four trains a day between the two capitals, is extremely unsatisfied with the cancellations. “We have just celebrated our fifth anniversary and in that time we have carried 1.6 million passengers between Amsterdam and London,” a spokesperson told the Parool.
Last year, Jacques Damas, previous Eurostar chief executive, revealed that the border checks required after Brexit led to a 30% decrease in the trains’ service capabilities. Adding to how greatly Eurostar was affected by the pandemic, with a reduction in revenue of 95% in 2020 and 2021 and no state aid, these suspensions will have a big financial impact on the company.
Rotterdam Central was looked at as possible alternative to the Amsterdam-London train route. Yet, this has revealed itself as an economically non-profitable solution, since the station can only handle 160 passengers per train, 100 less than Amsterdam Central. Schipol Airport Station was also on the table as a potential substitute, but logistical problems due to lack of space quickly arose.
2. An environmental concern
Eurostar estimates that the interruption of the direct cross-channel link will mean 21 extra flights between Schiphol and London. Which, from an environmental perspective, is a real concern and, in the spokesman’s words, “a crying shame”.
We calculate it means 21 extra flights between Schiphol and London and that is a crying shame.Eurostar spokesman
The situation is being confronted with criticism, with passenger advocacy groups, such as organization Rover, who argue that passengers will be left with no sustainable options of transportation.
On Monday, June 5th, Eurostar CEO, Gwendoline Cazenave, is traveling to the Netherlands for talks with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management NS, as well as operator ProRail.
Eurostar’s migration in Amsterdam is not to end next year. Eventually, its services are to be moved to Amsterdam South station, currently being expanded with that goal and 2036 as the estimated end of the project.