ONE OF London’s biggest wastes of money is Stratford International, the railway station purpose-built for Eurostar, but which never stops there. The trains from Paris and Brussels slide through the station every day on their way to and from King’s Cross-St Pancras International.
All that locals get out of the tailor-made station, pictured above and at left, under-used since its 2006 inception, is a few slowish trains to Kent and a bill for more than £200 million. And the inability to catch the continental train on their doorstep.
Now Boris Johnson has noticed the under-use of the eight floors-deep, 1km-plus-long station. The Mayor of London said today 29 July 2013 that Eurostar was “missing a trick” by not stopping at Stratford.
A Johnson aide added: “The Mayor has personally and repeatedly pressed Eurostar.”
Eurostar responded that stopping at the specifically created station would add seven minutes to the journey to St Pancras. This would harm custom on its Paris/Brussels-London services.
John Burton, development director at the Westfield shopping centre next to the station, complained that Eurostar and East London were missing out on “a major opportunity”.
During the Olympics a shuttle service was run from Stratford to St Pancras.
Locals may be hoping that Germany’s Deutsche Bahn will smarten up Eurostar. The nationally owned rail company, which owns the East London Line, plans to compete with the Anglo-French operator from 2016 by running super-speed trains from Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Cologne under the English Channel.
Hamish Scott 290713
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