Eurostar’s new route between London and Amsterdam is to start on April 4.

Passengers will be able to travel from St Pancras to the Dutch city in less than four hours via the Channel Tunnel.

One-way fares go on sale on February 20 starting at £35. The new service will begin with two trains a day departing at 8.31am and 5.31pm.

Passengers will initially travel direct from London to Amsterdam and Rotterdam but will have to connect to Eurostar on the return journey on a Thalys service via Brussels where passport controls and security screening will be carried out.

“This connecting return journey will be a temporary measure whilst the governments in the UK and The Netherlands complete an agreement which will enable passport checks to be conducted on departure in The Netherlands as in other key Eurostar destinations,” Eurostar said.

“The governments have committed to putting this agreement in place by the end of 2019 so that Eurostar travellers can then enjoy a direct service in both directions.”

However, the company added: “The launch of the new London-Amsterdam service not only creates a fast, point-to-point link with The Netherlands but also heralds a record new journey time for those passengers travelling on the London-Brussels section of the route.

“These customers will see their journey time cut by 17 minutes as the time onboard is reduced from 2hr05 to 1hr48.”

More than four million passengers travel by air every year between London and Amsterdam – market the same size as London to Paris at the time of Eurostar’s launch of service in 1994.

The market for travel between London and Paris has more than doubled over the past 23 years as travellers increasingly opt for high speed rail over flying.

“As the Netherlands grows in popularity as a key business and tourism hub, the potential for the new service and the overall market is significant,” Eurostar said.

Chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: “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.

“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.

“Our new route marks the culmination of the extensive investment in high speed rail on both sides of the Channel.

“With £1 billion investment in our new state-of the art trains and enhanced connectivity on the European network passengers can now enjoy fast, seamless rail connections between the UK and mainland Europe and a transformed travel experience.”

Commenting on the Amsterdam route launch, Eurotunnel chairman and CEO Jacques Gounon said: “This launch is highly significant news. Travellers will very soon be enjoying these fast, comfortable and environmentally responsible journeys.

“European citizens aspire to seamless travel experience, which States must take into account in their international relations.”

Passenger traffic on Le Shuttle remained stable in January over the same month last year with 152,068 vehicles carried, “penalised by weather conditions which were less than conducive to tourism during the month,” operator Eurotunnel said today.