Dispatch from Paris: Wifi on Eurostar, Facelift for Gare du Nord

Eurostar

Imagine the delight of Parisians when SNCF (the French rail company) announced a “Plan Botox” for Gare du Nord. The busiest train station in Europe, with 185 million passengers passing through annually, is in dire need of a makeover, and though the 50 million euros won’t ensure as dramatic a transformation as St. Pancras (at the other end of the line in London), it will make a noticeable difference. In fact, the revamp may be similar to Paris's newly renovated Gare St Lazare, anchored by chef Eric Frechon’s popular brasserie, Lazare.

But that’s not the only news. Eurostar, which departs the Gare du Nord for London, will be adding wifi to its high-speed trains, along with dedicated business lounges. Prepping to fete its 20th birthday in November, Eurostar has seen a 7 percent rise in revenue to 227 million pounds ($385 million), CEO Nicolas Petrovic said in an interview with Bloomberg News. The train operator is now investing $1.7 billion to add capacity through 2016. Notably, Business Premier traffic has increased 6% in the first quarter. In future years, Eurostar will add destinations including Lyon, Marseille, and Amsterdam.

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