It is worrying that the recently announced interruption of the Eurostar, which carries around 5000 passengers a day, could hamper Dutch companies' efforts to travel more sustainably. The director of Rover, Bos, states that flying cannot be regarded as a suitable alternative. According to him, people can instead consider traveling to Brussels with another train and changing there. However, this would entail extra hassle and travel time, which people would rather avoid. That is why the only real alternative, in his view, is for the train to continue to Amsterdam without interruption. Ultimately, ProRail has the decision-making power in this matter, although the State Secretary can also exert considerable pressure.
Amsterdam alderman Melanie van der Horst (Transport) indicated that she was surprised by the news and was 'absolutely not satisfied'. She has already contacted State Secretary Heijnen and the municipality will send another letter. The State Secretary indicated that she, together with Eurostar and ProRail, want to look for a solution. However, she also added a realistic nuance, stating that ProRail had already investigated and rejected other scenarios. Moreover, Eurostar seems to stick to departing from Amsterdam Central. As a result, a direct train connection between London and another city such as Utrecht also does not appear to be a viable option.
Hoek van Holland
Dutch travelers tend to opt for the plane more quickly than for a train journey with a transfer in Brussels. High costs even deter some from taking the trip. Although there is the option of taking the ferry to London by car, for example from Hoek van Holland, this is hardly a viable alternative for those who are time-bound.
De boat trip after all, from Hoek van Holland to Harwich takes 6,5 hours, supplemented with a train ride or car ride of one and a half hours. This is unrealistic for business travelers and hardly feasible for people planning a weekend trip to London or Amsterdam. As a result, an interruption of the Eurostar mainly leads to an increase in the number of air travel.
Eke Eijgelaar, researcher in sustainable tourism at the Breda University of Applied Sciences, performed various calculations for Radar to assess the sustainability of this trip.
If two people travel by car to London via the ferry service from Hoek van Holland, the average CO2 emissions per person for a return journey is approximately 157 kilograms. This seems somewhat more polluting than flying, which emits about 153 kilograms of CO2 per person. However, this depends on the way in which people travel to Schiphol.
Leaving the car behind and opting for a combination of ferry and train makes the journey considerably cleaner, with emissions of 67 kilograms of CO2. However, with an emission of only 6 kilograms of CO2, the Eurostar remains the most environmentally friendly option. “This will remain the case, even if you first travel to Brussels next year to board the Eurostar there,” says Eijgelaar.