By Anne Majumdar12 Feb 2018A brand new Eurostar route linking London with Amsterdam in under four hours is set to launch in April – a first for the high speed rail operator. The new link is expected to boost traffic between the two cities, with more than 4 million passengers currently travelling the route by air each year. The announcement comes as the Netherlands grows in popularity as a key business and tourism hub, according to Eurostar. As a result, the operator believes the potential for the new service to grow the overall market is “significant”. Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said the new route followed an “extensive’ investment in high-speed rail on both sides of the English Channel. ‘The launch of our service to the Netherlands represents an exciting advance in cross-Channel travel and heralds a new era in international high-speed rail,” he said. ‘With direct services from the UK to the Netherlands, France and Belgium, we are transforming the links between the UK and three of Europe’s top trading nations.” The operator is hopeful the new route will see some of the success of its London to Paris service. Since its launch back in 1994, the link has doubled traffic, including air and rail, between the two cities. Image: Gianluca Cosetta/Unsplash The new service will operate twice daily from St Pancras to Rotterdam and Amsterdam from April 4 with fares starting from GBP 35 (around AU$60). The high speed trains will reach speeds of 186 mph, and will take three hours to reach Rotterdam and then an additional 40 minutes to arrive in Amsterdam, Return journeys will connect through Brussels as a temporary measure until UK and Netherlands governments reach an agreement on passport checks. That should be resolved by 2019, Eurostar said, making it a direct service. Tickets will go on sale on February 20. Are you excited by this announcement? Other stories you may like BREXIT TROUBLES: Flights from the UK could be grounded after Brexit HAPPY STAFF: Amsterdam’s luxurious Conservatorium Hotel reveals the secret to great service ROYAL FLUSH: Where can you find the best toilets in the world?