Eurostar, the company that runs trains between London, Paris and Brussels, said from Wednesday passengers will be able to travel directly between Amsterdam and London.
There will be two daily connections, and the route will go from London through Brussels (1h48) and Rotterdam (3h01) before arriving in Amsterdam three hours and 41 minutes later. The absence of a stop in Lille reduces the time it used to take between the British and Belgian capitals.
London-based Eurostar runs high speed trains carrying passengers through the Channel tunnel, which is operated by Eurotunnel. Eurostar is majority-owned by French state rail operator SNCF.
However, the journey will be extended by almost an hour in the direction Amsterdam-London, with passport and security checks being made in Brussels. On the Amsterdam-London route, passengers will first travel to Brussels-Midi where passport and security checks will be made before boarding a Eurostar train to London.
The company hopes that a new link between London and Amsterdam will boost traffic. Eurostar said there were currently more than 4 million passengers travelling by air between the two cities annually.
“As the Netherlands grows in popularity as a key business and tourism hub, the potential for the new service and the overall market is significant,” Eurostar said in a statement on Friday.
At two hours and 15 minutes, the London to Paris journey is much quicker than the London to Amsterdam route. Passengers travelling in one direction, from Amsterdam to London, will also have to disembark at Brussels for passport and security checks.
But by 2019 the return journey should become truly direct as Eurostar said that the British and Dutch governments would put in place an agreement to allow those checks to take place on departure in the Netherlands.
Eurostar says that only two trains between Brussels and London (via Lille) will be cancelled because of the strike on French railways on 4 April.