Had heard this mooted recently, but now official that Eurostar will run from St Pancras to Marseille direct from May 2015, all year round. Good news, only down side is that the return will need a change at Lille because of immigration. No times, length of journey or calling pattern specifics known yet, although some days it will stop at Ashford, other days just straight to the continent.
http://www.kentonline.co.uk/ashford/news/eurostar-brings-south-of-france-20296/Kent Online said:Eurostar have announced plans for a direct service from Ashford to the south of France.
The train giants head of public affairs, Pierre Delalande, revealed details about the new route at a recent Ashford Borough Council meeting.
The line will run from St Pancras, via Ashford, to the city of Marseille and is expected to launch from May 2015.
Mr Delalande said: We plan to increase our level of new destinations from May next year.
We will launch a new service to Marseille which will indeed stop in Ashford. It will be an all-year-round service.
It is understood the line to Marseille, the second largest city in France, from the UK will be seamless, with no changes.
However, the return journey will be semi-direct and will see a change in Lille, due to immigration issues.
On this matter, Mr Delalande said: We would love to have a direct return journey but we have to follow immigration policy.
Although the service will run all year, trains will not stop every day in Ashford, with more running during peak times and fewer in the winter months.
Ticket sales are expected to open as early as December, with the first departure planned for May. It is unknown how long the rail journey would take.
Councillors embraced news of the planned new route.
Godinton ward member Cllr Bernard Heyes (Con), who is the ABC portfolio holder for transportation, highways and engineering, said: I welcome the news of a new service to Marseille.
"I would also like to see more trains stopping in Ashford that go to both Paris and Lille, as well as Brussels.
Park Farm south member, Cllr Jim Wedgbury (Con) said: I also welcome the new route to Marseille. I recently flew to France via Ryanair and the flights are full.
It will be good to give them competition.
Mr Delalande added: Were hoping by next year to have more visibility on stopping patterns and journey times but dont have these details at the moment.
Planning and development portfolio holder Cllr David Robey (Con) said: It is important to have more routes from Ashford to Europe.
"Especially with the planned expansion of the Designer Outlet, which is hoping to increase its visitors from three million a year to seven million a year.