Bring Back Eurostar Campaign

Eurostar train on the track through countryside

What the council is doing

The council has continued to campaign for the return of Eurostar services to Ashford.

We are in regular dialogue with Eurostar, and we will continue to work with partners, including Kent County Council, neighbouring councils, our MP Damian Green, Government and High Speed One, to ensure services at Ashford International Station return.

With the valuable support of local residents and businesses across the county, we will continue our fight and call on the Government to intervene in order to maintain the prosperity of the borough and the wider East Kent region.

Cllr Noel Ovenden – Leader of Ashford Borough Council

“The services at Ashford International Station are not only important for existing businesses and travellers, they are also important for our future commercial investments. There was a public outcry when Eurostar made their initial announcement and the local strength of feeling is clearly reflected by recent meetings and the petition that has been launched, which we welcome.

“The prospect that Eurostar are not likely to return anytime soon represents a real challenge for those residents and businesses that rely on the service, and those that work locally. Ashford is an important economic driver for not only Kent and the East Kent region, but also an important international access point to Europe.

“Significant investment has been made over the last 25 years in infrastructure at Ashford International Station to ensure international services are able to operate to support business and leisure travel to Europe. It is imperative that the benefits of this investment are realised through services being returned to support the economy of Kent and the UK.

“We will not give up on this and will continue to make the case for their return, as soon as its commercially viable. International rail services provide an alternative to travelling by road or air. Not only is it a much more sustainable mode of transport, it also makes sense from an economical point of view too.”

Sign the petition

A petition has been set up by local residents and currently has over 57,000 signatures

“We are a group of proud Ashfordians who loved and benefited from the Eurostar servicing in Ashford and Ebbsfleet to other European cities. In 2020 Eurostar dropped its service to Ashford and Ebbsfleet International stations because of the pandemic and it has never resumed, although it still runs to and from London St Pancras.

“We are on a mission to bring it back and we need your help. If you would like the Eurostar servicing at our Kent International stations again please sign the online petition. If you would like to get more involved, share any information or help in any way please email info@bringbackeurotrains.com.”  

Keeping residents informed

Bring Back Euro Trains (BBET) marked the first-year anniversary of the petition with a webinar on Wednesday 20 March 2024 to update residents on what has been done to date to help facilitate the return of the Eurostar. The event included speakers Andrew Osborne from Ashford Borough Council, MP Damian Green and Michael Williams from Better Transport. You can view a recording of the webinar below:

Business survey

Hundreds of business leaders, representing thousands of employees, have responded to Kent County Council’s (KCC) call for views on the lack of international rail services stopping in Kent.

Early analysis of the survey results was shared with Ashford’s Joint Transportation Board in March. The survey received around 530 responses from business representatives operating in Kent and the wider region with nearly all calling for a return of stopping services in the county.

In October 2023, KCC, supported by Ashford Borough Council and Dartford Borough Council, launched the business survey to understand the impact international rail services not calling in Kent is having on trade. The survey ran for three months, closing in January 2024.

The councils have focused on the impact of Eurostar’s decision to stop services since 2020 and have been working with rail industry leaders to address this.

Further work will now be completed to understand the full range of views, so a case can be built with the aim of persuading operators and government to get back on track in what is the Channel Tunnel’s 30th anniversary year.

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