Eurostar will begin direct commercial services from Amsterdam to London in April, the cross-Channel rail operator has announced.
The route was launched in April 2018 but passengers travelling to the UK have been forced to change trains in Brussels to complete passport checks and security screening.
Eurostar was assured that the UK and Dutch governments would agree to allow border procedures to be carried out in the Netherlands by the end of 2019, but progress has been slower than expected.
The Department for Transport said the UK Government is “finalising an agreement”.
Commercial direct services from Amsterdam will begin on April 30, with trains also serving Rotterdam from May 18.
A comfortable, environmentally friendly alternative to the airlinesEurostar chief executive Mike Cooper
Speaking ahead of the arrival of a direct preview train from Amsterdam to London St Pancras, Eurostar chief executive Mike Cooper said: “Our services from the UK to the Netherlands have proved very popular, with over half a million travellers since launch.
“Our fully direct service marks an exciting advance for high-speed rail and provides consumers with a comfortable, environmentally friendly alternative to the airlines on one of Europe’s busiest leisure and business routes.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’re continuing to invest in modern, efficient transport links with the Continent so our businesses and tourism industry can flourish.
“The days of passengers being forced to decamp from the train at Brussels to file through passport control will soon be over, as we look forward to direct, return, high-speed services to Amsterdam and beyond.”
There are currently three outbound services a day from the UK to the Netherlands.
The direct inbound journey from Amsterdam to London will begin with two daily services, with the aim of increasing this to three and then four.
Rail expert Mark Smith, founder of Seat61.com, said some passengers have been put off travelling by train between London and the Netherlands because of the lack of direct services to the UK.
He told the PA news agency: “Eurostar has been tackling one of the biggest air routes in Europe with one hand tied behind its back.
“Now they can go all-out for a large chunk of that air market.”
He described the firm’s offer of city centre to city centre journeys in three hours and 50 minutes with a check-in time of just 30 minutes before departure as “very competitive”.
Eurostar said tickets for the new direct services will be available from February 11 and will cost from £35.