Eurostar: Britain 1-0 France

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Gateway to Britain: St Pancras

I’m writing this on a London bound Eurostar train. I love being able to take a train between Britain and France. It’s a civilised way to travel.

When the channel tunnel was opened in 1994, Britain was shamed by its failure to complete a high speed rail link to the coast. Eurostar trains left a cramped terminal at Waterloo and crawled along commuter lines to the tunnel. How things have changed. Travellers start their journey at the gorgeously opulent St Pancras, one of London’s greatest Victorian buildings. Their train races to the coast along our first (and so far only) new high speed railway.

Paris can’t match this. The Gare du Nord is a nice building, but the Eurostar section is as bad as the old Waterloo International. Today, dozens of travellers took their turn to take one small lift to Eurostar departures. There was a long queue for border control and security, followed by a similar wait for the steps down to the platform. It’s time for the French to spend some money on a proper Eurostar terminal in Paris. Meanwhile, let’s be proud of St Pancras, a worthy gateway to Britain.

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