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Eurostar

Chunnel train closes the gap between UK and Europe

Eurostar trains at St Pancras Station, London, England

Fast cross-Channel rail connection links London with Paris, Brussels, Disneyland Paris and more. Shown: Eurostar trains at St Pancras Station, London, England. Photo: ©Fraselpantz.

By now rail travelers everywhere have heard of Eurostar -- aka "the chunnel train." Eurostar is the high-speed undersea rail link that darts between London and Paris in just two-and-a-half hours. Since coming online twenty years ago, Eurostar's seamless international connection has attracted over 100 million time-conscious, convenience-conscious travelers -- sidelining numerous air carriers and leaving channel ferries in its wake.

For the uninitiated, Eurostar offers passengers a lot more than just a downtown-to-downtown link between the French and British capitals. Regular destinations include Brussels, Lille and DisneylandĘ Paris. Seasonal services extend Eurostar's reach to Avignon and the French Alps.

Three Eurostar travel classes cater to all budgets and travel needs:

Standard/Economy Class

Eurostar's most affordable class is popular with everyone from backpackers and young families to baby boomers. Airline-style aisle and window seats -- arranged in pairs -- are spacious and comfortable. Club-style tables for four are also available. The bar-buffet complements its menu of hot and cold selections with a full bar. Convenient check-in closes 30 minutes prior to departure.

Standard Premier/Comfort Class

Expanded comfort and service make Standard Premier the first class way to travel. Spacious wide-body reclining seats feature generous legroom and seating options include window-side singles, aisle/window doubles and tables for four. Standard Premier class travel includes complimentary magazines, onboard power connections, and light meals -- served with soft drinks, beer or wine. Cocktails and snacks are available for purchase in thebar-buffet. Convenient check-in closes 30 minutes prior to departure.

Business Premier Class

Combining Standard Premier benefits with special perks geared to the needs of the executive traveler, Business Premier Class offers optional chauffeur service to the station and express check-in up to 10 minutes prior to departure. Boarding is guaranteed. Onboard amenities include full course meals and daily newspapers. In London, Ebbsfleet, Ashford, Paris and Brussels, Business Premier passengers have exclusive access to Eurostar Lounges featuring complimentary snacks and refreshments, internet connections and W-Fi. Flexible Business Premier Class fares are always exchangeable and refundable.

Liberal carry-on luggage allowances enable most riders to skip baggage check-in procedures (registered transport of larger pieces is available between London and Paris, Brussels and Lille). Wheelchairs and mobility scooters are accommodated on a space available basis with advance reservations strongly advised. Special dietary needs are readily accommodated when requested in advance by email or fax (48 hours notice for Kosher, Halal, gluten free, diabetic, low fat or low salt; 12 hours notice for vegan or vegetarian).

Eurostar stations are world-class transportation hubs. Travelers may choose between convenient self-ticketing and check-in procedures or agent-assisted ticketing and boarding. All stations feature parking plus rail and local transit connections, wifi, and an array of dining, shopping and financial services.

Wheelchair users (including one travel companion) as well as rail pass holders, children, seniors, and groups are eligible for reduced fares. Travel by unaccompanied children ages 13 to 17 is conditionally permitted. Assistance dogs are permitted on all trains.

Eurostar services are popular and tickets sell-out fast. Order early to avoid disappointment. To book Eurostar travel, please visit your Rail Europe Eurostar Booking Center: USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia/New Zealand.

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