Eurostar boost for our economy

DONCASTER'S economy stands to benefit from millions of pounds of the future investment when the new Eurostar terminal opens in November, business leaders say.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 13th September 2007, 2:43 pm
Updated Friday, 14th September 2007, 11:10 am

The new terminal will open on November 14 at St Pancras station, just a five-minute walk away from where GNER’s Doncaster trains pull in at King’s Cross.

The better connections look set to shave about an hour off journey times between Doncaster and Paris and Brussels.

Paris will be five hours and 10 minutes away from Doncaster, and Brussels four hours and 50 minutes away, including transfer time and passport check-in time. Doncaster Chamber of Commerce chief executive Neville Dearden said: “It is not just a question of the time - it is also a matter of convenience.

“In the past people have had to get off at King’s Cross and take a tube or taxi across London. That is a tremendous turn-off for business travellers.

“In the long term this will be worth millions to Doncaster. We just have to change people’s habits now.

“It is a question of access to supply and markets and this makes it a lot easier to get to Doncaster from Paris and Brussels.

“It is not just about us going out to Paris, it is also about people coming to Doncaster to see potential suppliers here. It is two ways and that is important.”

Rail bosses expect to more than double Doncaster’s number of international rail passengers on the back of the new terminal, replacing the existing one at Waterloo.

Predictions from the firm estimate more than 7,000 people will travel on the route after the new base opens.

Eurostar bosses have held talks already about how faster journey times may even open up Doncaster as a tourist destination during the 2012 Olympics.

International rail route manager Peter Bell said: “We’ve had discussions about how Doncaster may be a place to stay during the Olympics.

“The council was looking at what it could do for 2012.”

Details of the changes were outlined to business leaders yesterday.

Chairman of Doncaster Council Coun Tony Sockett, a former cabinet member for business on the authority, attended the meeting and said he thought the quicker rail link to Europe would be a benefit to the borough.

He said: “I think there is a potential for more businesses to locate in Doncaster - its association with so many means of transport, makes it an area ripe for development.”