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HomeTravelKent Businesses Back Eurostar Return To County

Kent Businesses Back Eurostar Return To County

Business leaders in Kent are backing calls for Eurostar stations in the county to be reinstated.

Rail services linking the UK to Europe have not stopped at Ashford or Ebbsfleet since March 2020. Eurostar has said its Kent stations would remain closed throughout 2024.

A Kent County Council (KCC) survey has received hundreds of responses from business representatives, with nearly all calling for a return of stopping services.

The rail company has previously cited financial factors and the post-Brexit border situation as reasons for the Kent services not being immediately restored. With the possible introduction of biometrics such as facial and fingerprint scans, there is a question if they can they be carried out in Ashford and Ebbsfleet.

The business survey was launched by KCC, along with Ashford Borough Council and Dartford Borough Council, in October 2023.

The councils have focused on the impact of Eurostar’s decision to stop services, and have been working with rail industry leaders to address it.

KCC said the views of 530 respondents would be used to build a case to persuade operators and the government to get back on track. Unfortunately, it would appear that 530 responses would not be enough to convince Eurostar to invest heavily into Kent’s mothballed stations.

Neil Baker, KCC’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “These businesses represent more than 30,000 employees, demonstrating the economic importance of international rail to this county and the wider country.

“We are focused on the opportunity to get these benefits back in the 30th anniversary year of the opening of the Channel Tunnel.”

A campaign petition to bring Eurostar services back to Ashford International Station began in March 2023 and now has almost 50,000 signatures.

A Eurostar spokesperson said “We understand this is disappointing for the local communities, and we will continue to work closely and openly with the local councils on the future of the stations.”

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