I’ve always enjoyed train travel, especially in Europe, and my enthusiasm is regularly boosted by the world’s airports, which seem to become more disagreeable by the day. It was in November 1994 that Eurostar first started operating high-speed trains from London to Paris and Brussels through the Channel Tunnel. I clearly remember my excitement at boarding the gleaming white train for the first time, and then hearing the barely audible hum as it pulled smoothly away from the station. Back then, I imagined that there would soon be high-speed services from London to other adjacent European cities.
But, to my surprise, nothing happened. I was thrilled to learn, therefore, that on April 4 Eurostar will begin a twice-daily direct service from London to Amsterdam. Two of my favorite cities will now be just 3 hours and 41 minutes apart. London’s St. Pancras International, Sir Gilbert Scott’s Victorian railway cathedral, is rivaled only by New York’s Grand Central Terminal as the most spectacular station in the world. (I always pay a pretrip visit to the 320-foot-long Champagne bar on the Grand Terrace.) The route’s terminus will be the neo-Gothic Amsterdam Centraal, which was designed by Pierre Cuypers, better known as the architect of the Rijksmuseum. So, from this spring on, I will be able to have breakfast in London, followed by lunch in Amsterdam. And, best of all, I won’t have to go anywhere near to an airport.