15 November 2004
BRUSSELS – High speed train Eurostar celebrated its tenth year on Sunday with balloons and free cake for passengers, but is still failing to make a profit.
Balloons decorated the station in Lille where the train stops en route between Belgium and the UK, but the occasion was reported to be relatively low-key.
The Eurostar Group can congratulate itself this year on soaring passenger numbers, punctuality and market share.
But, reports AFP, the company is still struggling to make a profit and is yet to break even.
It hopes to do so this year, after reporting a loss of EUR 60 million in 2003, less than half of the EUR 130 million loss in 2002.
Cake-cutting celebrations were carried out in Paris and Brussels at the weekend, but London did not participate out of respect for the seven people killed in a train crash at a level crossing last week.
A company spokesman said that the London-Brussels route was being increasingly used by cross-Channel commuters, mainly eurocrats working for the EU institutions.
By 2007 the Brussels-London trip is due to be cut to one hour and 53 minutes. “That journey will lead to a lot more commuting,” said spokesman Paul Charles.
Since it was launched on November 14, 1994, the high speed train has carried about 59 million passengers on its French, Belgian and British services.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news