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Eurostar will launch direct Amsterdam-London service this year

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Eurostar passengers at Gare du Nord Station in Paris on January, 31, 2020.
Eurostar passengers at Gare du Nord Station in Paris on January, 31, 2020.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Francois Mori
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Eurostar's non-stop service from Amsterdam to London will launch later this year after Britain reached a deal with France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Eurostar currently runs a direct London to Amsterdam service but people travelling in the opposite direction must disembark in Brussels for immigration checks which lengthens journey time.

A treaty signed on Tuesday in the Belgian capital between the four countries will see UK Border force officials stationed in Amsterdam and Rotterdam carry out checks before boarding, as they do in France and Belgium.

No date has yet been given for when non-stop service will start.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a statement that "this important treaty shows that while we have left the European Union, our links with Europe are stronger than ever."

"It will enable vital security and immigration checks to be carried out in the Netherlands, protecting the UK's border and providing faster and more efficient journeys for passengers," she added.

The direct service was initially meant to debut in late April but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its introduction.

Lockdown measures across Europe led to a fall in demand for Eurostar tickets which prompted the company to suspend multiple routes including between the Netherlands and the UK.

Direct train travel between London and Amsterdam will resume on July 9, while services in the opposite direction — with a stop in Brussels — will restart on July 13, Eurostar has said.

The Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure, Stientje van Veldhoven, said that the "new direct train service enables us to travel from Amsterdam to London in just over four hours."

"A Eurostar train roughly has twice as many seats as an average airplane on the Amsterdam-London route and CO2 emissions are significantly lower. The train service to London, therefore, is a sustainable and competitive alternative to flying," he also said.

Last month, 24 European Union member states signed a pledge to boost international passenger rail transport across the bloc, flagging that it is "presently not performing to its potential within the EU."

They argued that it would contribute to the Green deal — the policy, championed by the Commission, which aims to make the EU carbon-neutral by 2050.