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A London-Bordeaux train service could be up and running within two years, with the tempting prospect of direct travel from Central London to the South of France.
Proposals, presented recently by HS1 Ltd (High Speed 1), show a high-speed route from St Pancras International in London, to a new terminal in Bordeaux (the first full cross-Channel train terminal in more than 25 years).
The new high-speed line — to be managed by HS1 Ltd, Eurotunnel, SNCF Réseau and LISEA — would travel at speeds of up to 200mph, have a journey time of under five hours, and be used by an expected 200,000 passengers per year.
The proposed route takes advantage of the Southern Europe Atlantic High Speed Line, a high speed railway of 302km between Tours and Paris that opened in July 2017.
Keith Ludeman, Chair of HS1 Ltd — who recently presented plans to the Mayor of Bordeaux and the Regional President of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region — says:
France is the second most popular holiday destination for Brits abroad. This is on top of the one in four British citizens in France that live here so the commercial incentive to open up this route is clear.
City-centre to city-centre train travel helps passengers avoid the queues and extra travel time associated with some airports. It is also far more environmentally friendly, as a journey by high-speed train produces 90% less pollution than catching an aeroplane.
Good for the environment, it's also a boon to Londoners who loathe airport faff, and dreaded transfers.
Geneva and Frankfurt are two other locations that HS1 Ltd hopes to reach from London via a direct train service in the next few years. This will be welcome to those affected by the news that Eurostar will no longer sell 'through-tickets' to German destinations.