The direct train service between Amsterdam and London will not start operations until 2020 because making deals about security and border controls are taking longer than expected, junior transport minister Stientje van Veldhoven told MPs on Monday.
Eurostar had hoped to start the four hour direct services between the two capitals last December but that was later delayed until this spring. Now the direct service won’t start until 2020 because international agreements between the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Britain are taking more time, the minister said.
The threat of terrorism and migration streams make it essential that these talks are carried out extremely carefully, Van Veldhoven said.
Operational preparations will be completed in April and Eurostar is currently looking at when, and in what form, services will be introduced, Van Veldhoven said. The provisions for border and baggage checks at Amsterdam and Rotterdam’s main stations are currently being built.
The talks should be completed by the end of 2019, allowing Eurostar and the NS to start the new service in 2020, the minister said.
Eurostar told DutchNews.nl that it is keen to start the service as soon as possible.
‘We are still in talks with the British and Dutch governments,’ a spokeswoman said. Various media reports suggest the service may start with a stop-over in Brussels for security checks.
Eurostar’s website allows passengers to book tickets between Amsterdam and London for €59, including one stop-over.