What with all the whinging we've done about the comical opening of T5, and the state of British infrastructure in general, it seems we've forgotten about the smooth, stress-free move that Eurostar made from Waterloo to St. Pancras last November. Fortunately, travellers to the continent have been quick to take advantage: the operator has recorded a 21% passenger rise in the first three months of 2008.
The world's largest inter-capital rail service could welcome up to 9 million passengers this year, and claims over 70% of the London-Paris travel market. The shortened time between the two cities - now 2 hours and 15 minutes - coupled with the highly successful redevelopment of St. Pancras (which we were lucky enough to experience ahead of time) has convinced more and more people to switch, while the introduction of cross-connecting services from regional parts of Britain has also had a huge benefit.
It's not all bottles of champagne and party hats at Eurostar HQ, though. While ticket sales may be up, the company still has to bear out the cost of building High Speed One, the brand-new rail link that has allows the train to travel in smooth luxury instead of rattling over the clapped-out old BR track that it used to use. The Times reports that the British arm remains loss-making, and will remain so for the near future at least.
Let's not end this on a downer, though, eh! In St Pancras we've got arguably the world's finest rail station, and the 'Age of the Train' that everybody and their pet cat seems to be predicting is borne out by passenger numbers. Long may it continue.
Image of Eurostar train at St Pancras from lewishamdream (against video)'s Flickrstream