Double Digit Ridership Increase Leaves London-Paris-Brussels High Speed Rail Behind Projections

The Eurostar, the high speed rail service that links London with Paris and Brussels remains more than 60 percent below its ridership projections as of 2010, according to recently released ridership information. This is despite a double digit (12 percent increase in ridership between 2009 and 2010.

According to a Parliamentary inquiry, consultants projected that Eurostar ridership would reach nearly 25 million passengers by 2006. As of 2010, ridership still languishes below 10 million, at 9.5 million. Rosy ridership and revenue estimates have often occurred with major infrastructure projects, especially rail projects, as has been documented in research by Flyvbjerg et al.

In 2009, the government of the United Kingdom has assumed £5.2 billion in debts of the builder/operator of the high-speed rail Channel Tunnel link to St. Pancras Station. This is in addition to the £1.7 billion that had been granted by the government to the builder/operator to extend the line.