THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- A nonstop train from Amsterdam to London will begin services at the end of April, the Dutch government announced Tuesday.
Roger van Boxtel, president-director of Dutch rail company NS, said the new service will improve transport ties between the Netherlands and Britain despite the U.K.'s departure from the European Union last week.
“Brexit or not, from April 30 London is getting closer,” he said in a statement.
Passengers can already travel nonstop from London to Amsterdam, but people going in the other direction have to change trains and go through passport formalities in Brussels. A new agreement between the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom means that passengers will now go through passport checks in Amsterdam before boarding the train.
“The direct connection makes the train journey to London easier and in particular quicker,” said Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and Water Cora van Nieuwenhuizen.
She said that cutting the travel time by about an hour means that “the train will really become a viable alternative to the airplane.”
The British government also hailed the start of direct Amsterdam to London Eurostar services.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps went to St. Pancras station on Tuesday for the arrival of a special preview train from the Dutch capital.
"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,” he said
One-way tickets start at 40 euros ($44).
The train will take about four hours to travel from Amsterdam Central Station to St. Pancras in London, via the tunnel under the English Channel. A direct service from the port city of Rotterdam to London will begin May 18.