Natalie Paris, The Daily Telegraph, January 31, 2014
A partnership with Deutsche Bahn will allow passengers to buy a ticket on Eurostar.com to Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich. The Deutsche Bahn train will also go to Aachen and Cologne, where passengers have previously been able to travel via Eurostar and another operator, Thalys.
Tickets for journeys using Thalys will still exist but the new Deutsche Bahn journeys will be flexible, like Eurostar’s “Any Belgian Station” ticket.
Travellers will take start on one of nine daily Eurostar services to Brussels Midi station and from there change platform to connect to a high-speed ICE Deutsche Bahn train to Germany.
As there will be no seat reservation for the German part of the journey, travellers can take a later train if they wish to spend some time in Brussels.
A single ticket starts at £49.50, to Aachen, Cologne, Bonn and Düsseldorf and from £79.50 to Frankfurt and from £97.50 to Munich.
Even the smaller of these German cities have much to recommend them as short-break destinations.
Aachen, established by Charlemagne in 794, was, rightly, one of the first batch of World Heritage Sites recognised by Unesco. But it doesn't feel like a World Heritage Site, said our writer Max Davidson, as you don't have to fend off thousands of other tourists in the city centre.
The Dom, around AD 800 when it was built, must have been one of the most astounding buildings in Europe. The centrepiece, the palace chapel, is a soaring octagonal church, designed in the Byzantine style, but on a sumptuous scale.
In nearby Cologne, the spiky Gothic spires of the cathedral soar over the city . Building started in the 13th century to house the relics of the Three Magi, then stopped in 1560 and it was not completed until the mid-19th century when, briefly, it was Europe's tallest building. There is also the Museum Ludwig modern art museum, which has works from Andy Warhol to Picasso.
Düsseldorf meanwhile, has style, a chic and fashion-conscious city by the Rhine that patently loves its culture with a 100 galleries and 26 museums, a renowned opera house and cutting-edge architecture.
Nick Mercer, Commercial Director for Eurostar said: “In partnership with Deutsche Bahn our fast, frequent and comfortable service to Germany will strengthen the links between the two countries and help transform the way people travel between these important financial and tourist hubs.”
He said Eurostar would make more announcements concerning extra services (including a further six German stations - Hamburg, Berlin, Hannover, Essen, Bremen and Duisburg with Thalys) and new trains this year.
Last autumn the company announced a new direct service to Amsterdam starting in 2016.