Eurostar has warned that passengers could be hit with rising ticket prices after High Speed 1 (HS1) unveiled plans to hike its charges by more than 40 per cent.
HS1, which connects London with the Channel Tunnel, has put forward plans to increase access fees to fund maintenance and upgrades to the line.
The proposals, which have been submitted to the rail watchdog, would result in a 43 per cent increase in charges for Eurostar. Southeastern, which also uses the 67-mile line, would be forced to pay 25 per cent more, while charges for freight operators would soar by 74 per cent.
But Eurostar has hit back at the plans, saying the hefty costs would inevitably be passed on to passengers.
“There is a link between our costs and the price that customers pay as well as the funds available to us for future investment in the service,” the firm said it a statement.
“That is why we are concerned about the very high proposed increase in charges from HS1 and will work hard to protect the interests of our customers.”
HS1 said the price hikes are necessary to fund repairs and upgrades on the high-speed network, which it said will cost more than £1.5bn over the next 40 years.
“Ultimately, we want to continue to deliver outstanding levels of asset performance and support our operators in delivering excellent services to passengers, while planning for and investing in the future success of HS1,” the company said.
Eurostar, which posted a bumper rise in sales revenue to £989m last year, said it will “engage strongly” over the summer to resist the plans, adding any changes to HS1 prices must be “justified and efficient”.
HS1 was sold by two Canadian pension funds in 2017 to a consortium of investment companies, including HICL and Equitix, in a deal worth roughly £3bn.