Eurostar International Limited

Eurostar International Limited
Limited company
Industry Rail Transport
Founded 1990
Headquarters London, England
Key people
Nicolas Petrovic (CEO)
Products Rail Transport
Revenue Increase £857 million (2013)
Increase £54 million (2013)
Owners SNCF (55%)
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (30%)
Hermes Infrastructure (10%)
SNCB (5%)[1]
Subsidiaries Eurostar

Eurostar International Limited[2] (EIL) is the railway company operating the international Eurostar train services between London, Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel. 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 SNCF (55%), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) (30%), Hermes Infrastructure (10%) and SNCB (5%).[1]

Eurostar International is the largest customer of Eurotunnel, the owners of the Channel Tunnel.


Class 373 sets at London Waterloo in May 2005

Eurostar International was formed in 1990 as European Passenger Services[2] (EPS), as the division of British Rail responsible for the UK section of the Eurostar operation. Eurostar trains began operating on 14 November 1994, with EPS, SNCB and SNCF were each responsible for the running of Eurostar services in 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.[3]

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 Government of the United Kingdom for LCR build and operate High Speed 1 (HS1) between London and the Channel Tunnel. The company was renamed Eurostar (UK) Limited[2] (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. Bids for the contract were submitted by Virgin Rail Group and Inter-Capital and Regional Rail, a consortium of National Express (40%), SNCF (35%), SNCB (15%) and British Airways (10%). The latter was awarded the contract which was to run from 1998 until 2010.[4]

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.[5]

On 31 December 2009, EUKL was renamed Eurostar International Limited[2] (EIL). On 1 September 2010, the three 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.[6] Once all Eurostar assets were transferred to EIL, the holdings in the company were amended to LCR (40%), SNCB (5%) and SNCF (55%).[7][8]

LCR sold a 30-year concession to operate HS1 in November 2010 to a Canadian consortium of Borealis Infrastructure and Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan for £2.1bn.[9][10] 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.[11][12]

In January 2014, in a joint venture with Keolis, Eurostar was shortlisted to bid for the East Coast franchise in the United Kingdom.[13][14] However, a bid by Virgin Trains East Coast, a consortium of Stagecoach and Virgin, won the franchise.[15]

In June 2014, the UK's 40% shareholding in EIL was transferred from LCR to HM Treasury,[16] and a sale process was launched on 13 October 2014.[17] In March 2015, the Treasury announced it had sold the stake to Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) (30%) and Hermes Infrastructure (10%) for £585.1m. It also confirmed agreement to redeem its preference share in EIL for £172m, raising £757.1m in total.[18]


EIL is the owner of 38 Class 373 sets. These consist of 31 Three Capitals Eurostar trains (2 power cars with 18 passenger carriages) and seven North of London Regional Eurostar trains (2 power cars with 14 passenger carriages). Following delivery during 2014 onwards, they will also become the owner of seventeen British Rail Class 374 sets. These are sixteen-carriage Siemens Velaro units which use distributed traction power.


  1. 1 2 "UK government sells Eurostar stake for £757.1m". BBC News Online. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2015. Patina Rail LLP will acquire the UK Treasury's entire share … consortium is made up of two companies: Canadian-based Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and the UK's Hermes Infrastructure … will own 30% and 10% of Eurostar respectively
  2. 1 2 3 4 Companies House extract company no 2462001 Eurostar International Limited formerly Eurostar (UK) Limited formerly European Passenger Services Limited
  3. Winsor, Thomas P (6 March 2003). Judgement (PDF). Network Rail Infrastructure Limited -v- Eurostar (UK) Limited (Report). Office of Rail Regulation. pp. 2–3. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  4. Eurostar restructure sees UK expand rail stake Archived 23 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. Deutsche Bahn says interested in Eurostar stake Reuters 14 January 2009
  6. National Express Group plc Annual Report and Accounts 2010
  7. Behind the Scenes Eurostar
  8. Eurostar restructuring completed Railway Gazette 2 September 2010
  9. HS1 Sale Completion London & Continental Railway
  10. High Speed 1 concession awarded to Canadian pension consortium Railway Gazette 5 November 2010
  11. Eurostar: Government's 40% Stake Up For Sale Sky News 4 December 2013
  12. UK government contemplates sale of LCR assets & Eurostar stake Railway Gazette 4 December 2013
  13. East Coast rail shortlist revealed BBC News 17 January 2014
  14. InterCity East Coast franchise shortlist announced Railway Gazette 17 January 2014
  15. "Stagecoach and Virgin win East Coast mainline rail franchise". BBC News. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  16. "House of Commons Hansard Ministerial Statements for 19 June 2014 (pt 0001)". UK Parliament. House of Commons. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  17. "Eurostar rail stake touted for sale by UK government". BBC News. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  18. "UK government has reached agreement for the sale of its entire interest in Eurostar International Limited ("Eurostar") for £757.1m.". Retrieved 2 April 2015.
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