Eurostar International Limited

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Eurostar International Limited
Type Government-owned corporation and Private
Industry Rail Transport
Founded 1990
Headquarters London, UK
Products Rail Transport
Revenue Increase £857 Million (2013)
Operating income Increase £54 Million (2013)
Parent London and Continental Railways (40%), SNCF (55%)and SNCB (5%).
Subsidiaries Eurostar

Eurostar International Limited (EIL) is the parent company of the Eurostar service operating between London, Paris and Brussels. Eurostar was previously operated by three separate companies in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, but this structure was replaced by EIL as a new single management company on 1 September 2010. EIL is owned by London and Continental Railways (40%), SNCF (55%)and SNCB (5%).[1]


Eurostar International was originally formed in 1990 as European Passenger Services (EPS), as the division of British Rail responsible for the UK section of the Eurostar operation. Eurostar trains began operating in 1994, when EPS, SNCB and SNCF were each responsible for the running of Eurostar services on their own territory.

On 1 April 1994 EPS signed a fixed-rate track access contract with Railtrack lasting until 29 July 2052 as part of the plans for Regional Eurostar services.[2]

The privatisation of British Rail saw ownership of EPS transferred to London and Continental Railways (LCR) in 1996. This was part of the contract agreed with the UK Government for LCR build and operate High Speed 1 (HS1) between London and the Channel Tunnel. LCR renamed the company Eurostar (UK) Ltd (EUKL) and was to use the income from EUKL to help finance the HS1 project.

Following financial assistance from the government in 1998, LCR was forced to appoint a management contract for EUKL. Two bids for the contract were submitted by Virgin Group and Inter-Capital and Regional Rail (ICRR), a consortium of National Express (40%), SNCF (35%), SNCB (15%) and British Airways (10%). ICRR was awarded the contract which was to run from 1998 until 2010.[3]

In January 2009, after the completion of HS1, the UK's Department for Transport took control of LCR and announced its intention to put both HS1 and EUKL up for sale. Deutsche Bahn expressed an interest in EUKL but no sale materialised.[4]

On 31 December 2009 EUKL was renamed Eurostar International Limited (EIL). On 1 September 2010 the 3 national Eurostar operators merged into EIL as a single company with a single management structure. Following this change, the ICRR management contract for the UK business was terminated.[5] Once all Eurostar assets were transferred to EIL, the holdings in the company were amended to LCR (40%), SNCB (5%) and SNCF (55%).

LCR sold HS1 in November 2010 to a Canadian consortium of Borealis Infrastructure and Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan for £2.1bn.[6] EIL then paid access charges to the consortium to operate Eurostar trains on HS1.

On 4 December 2013 the UK Government announced it was looking to sell LCR's 40% stake in EIL.[7]


EIL is the owner of 38 sets of electric multiple-unit trains, referred to as Class 373s in the UK and as TGV373000s in France. These consist of 31 sets of 'Three Capitals' Eurostar trains (2 power cars with 18 passenger carriages) and 7 sets of 'North of London' (NoL) Regional Eurostar trains (2 power cars with 14 passenger carriages).


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