Government is keen to see Eurostar services reinstated at Ashford International and Ebbsfleet International “once it is reasonably possible and commercially viable to do so,” according to Baroness Vere.
Trains to Europe stopped calling at the stations when the cross-Channel service was decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the number of services dropping to one on each route.
However, as Europe reopened, Eurostar has confirmed it will not begin serving those stations until at least next year, and possibly as late as 2025 as it seeks to recover patronage on its main routes.
Lord Berkeley had asked what assessment government had made on the effect of the decision by Eurostar not have to any of its trains call at Ashford International and the economy of east Kent.
In a written reply on 20 September, Baroness Vere wrote: “Eurostar’s decision to temporarily not stop at Ashford and Ebbsfleet International stations was a commercial decision taken by Eurostar in response to the severe decline in passenger numbers.
“The Government engages very regularly with Eurostar and continues to monitor very closely the continued impact of COVID-19 on the international rail sector, as well as the decisions taken by companies in response. The Government is keen to see the reinstatement of services to Ashford and Ebbsfleet once it is reasonably possible and commercially viable to do so.”