The Direct Disneyland Paris train service from London St. Pancras International to Marne la Vallée / Chessy is under threat of cancellation by cross-Channel rail operator Eurostar after they announced a drop in passenger numbers and a fall in revenue.
The Direct Eurostar service popular with many visitors to the resort from the United Kingdom departs from London St Pancras International station and arrives at Marne la Vallée/Chessy station at the gates of Disneyland Paris.
Eurostar has announced that it will be cutting services between London and mainland Europe and at least 80 jobs will be lost at the company affecting on-board train and station staff, Temple Mills maintenance depot, the Times House headquarters in London and the Eurostar Contact Centre.
Eurostar earlier this year said that the vote to leave the European Union had contributed to a “challenging” second quarter of 2016, with passengers numbers falling 3 per cent on the same period in 2015.
The Eurostar’s CEO Nicolas Petrovic said at the time it was due to a “slowdown in business travel” thanks to “uncertainty following the vote to leave, combined with the Brussels terrorist attack”.
A spokesperson for Eurostar said: “This is a challenging environment for all travel companies and we need to manage our costs carefully. That’s why we are looking at the size and shape of our business.”
“We are committed to minimising the impact of these changes on our colleagues and our current focus is on managing any reductions through voluntary redundancies and sabbaticals as much as possible.”
The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association trade union said the cuts followed a ‘severe reduction in passenger numbers and revenue’ in 2016, which had led to the Eurostar ‘significantly reducing costs in other areas’ before announcing the job losses.
Eurostar commenced the Direct service to the resort in 1996 with great fanfare with a special parade in the Disneyland Park featuring Sir Richard Branson and then Euro Disney S.C.A. President Philippe Bourguignon.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Rail Group was interested in operating the Regional Eurostar services that would have operated from Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff, and Plymouth to the resort. Unfortunately these services failed to materialise after competition from low-cost airlines forced the cancelation of the project.
Eurostar have been considering cancelling the Direct Disney route for the past few years, and the company took the decision last year to cancel the service between the months of January and February due to poor passenger numbers.
When the service originally launched there were two trains a day from London to Disneyland Paris. The service has since been cut back to one train every other day.
Eurostar are scheduled to release a new international timetable in December, where 8% of it’s serves are expected to be cancelled.