Eurostar is a high-speed railway service connecting London with Avignon, Brussels, Lille, Lyon, Marseille and Paris. All its trains traverse the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France, owned and operated separately by Eurotunnel.
The London terminus is St Pancras International, with the other British calling points being Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International in Kent. Calling points in France are Calais-Fréthun and Lille-Europe, with trains to Paris terminating at Gare du Nord. Trains to Belgium terminate at Midi/Zuid station in Brussels. In addition, there are limited services from London to Disneyland Paris at Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy, services to southern France as of 1 May 2015 and seasonal services to the Alps in winter.
The service is operated by 27 eighteen-coach Class 373/1 trains which run at up to 300 kilometres per hour (186 mph) on a network of high-speed lines. The LGV Nord line in France opened before Eurostar services began in 1994, and newer lines enabling faster journeys were added later—HSL 1 in Belgium and High Speed 1 in southern England. The French and Belgian parts of the network are shared with Paris–Brussels Thalys services and also with TGV trains. In the United Kingdom the two-stage Channel Tunnel Rail Link project was completed on 14 November 2007 and renamed High Speed 1, when the London terminus of Eurostar transferred from Waterloo International to St Pancras International.
Eurostar was until 2010 operated jointly by the national railway companies of France and Belgium, SNCF and SNCB/NMBS, and Eurostar (UK) Ltd (EUKL), a subsidiary of London and Continental Railways (LCR), which also owned the high-speed infrastructure and stations on the British side. Eurostar has become the dominant operator on the routes that it operates, carrying more passengers than all airlines combined. Other operators have expressed an interest in starting competing services following deregulation in 2010. On 1 September 2010, Eurostar was incorporated as a single corporate entity called Eurostar International Limited (EIL), replacing the joint operation between EUKL, SNCF and SNCB/NMBS. EIL is owned by SNCF (55%), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) (30%), Hermes Infrastructure (10%) and SNCB (5%).
In June 2014, the UK shareholding in Eurostar International Limited was transferred from London and Continental Railways / Department for Transport to HM Treasury. In October 2014, it was announced that the UK government planned to raise £300 million by selling that stake. In March 2015, the UK government announced that it would be selling its 40% share to an Anglo-Canadian consortium made up of Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure. This sale was completed in May 2015....LESS