Train operator Eurostar has hailed the success of the new St Pancras service after announcing record passenger figures.
The company revealed today that it carried a record 8.26 million travellers in 2007, a rise of 5.1 per cent on the previous year.
Since the opening of London's new St Pancras terminal in mid-November, replacing the former terminal at Waterloo, passenger traffic has increased by 11 per cent and sales are up by a fifth.
The opening of the north London hub enabled trains to travel at 186mph and was designed to help Eurostar tap into the northern market as St Pancras is better connected to the rest of the UK than Waterloo.
Richard Brown, the company's chief executive, said the passenger boost as well as an increase in turnover for 2007 of £599 million, up 15.5 per cent on 2006, was proof of continued success.
"We expect to see this growth continue throughout 2008 as the impact of the new through fares from across the UK drives growth in the number of travellers using Eurostar from towns and cities north and south of London," he said.
"The UK is now truly part of Europe's high-speed rail network and this country can be rightly proud of the huge achievement that the successful launch of high speed one and St Pancras international represents."
He added that since the opening of St Pancras on November 14th, new through-fares from 68 UK destinations to Paris, Brussels, Disneyland and 75 other towns and cities in Belgium and France have been introduced.
And he insisted that for those living in the north of England journey times via St Pancras are faster and the cost the same or cheaper than if they were to fly to Europe with a budget airline.
Eurostar links St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
St Pancras international is connected with seven mainline rail services at St Pancras, King's Cross and Euston and six London underground lines.