More than 250,000 people have travelled from London to Amsterdam in the first year of a direct Eurostar service via the Channel Tunnel.

Over 13,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions have been saved to date by passengers opting for high-speed rail over flights, the train operator claimed.

The figure is based on estimates that a Eurostar journey between the two cities results in 80% less carbon per passenger than a flight.

The savings are the equivalent to the amount of CO2 that would be emitted from 1,000 average houses in a year, or to taking 2,549 cars off the road for a year.

Eurostar plans to introduce a third daily service to the Dutch city from June 11, increasing capacity to the equivalent of 12 flights per day. Fares start at £35 one-way.

Eurostar chief executive Mike Cooper said: “Our new service linking London with the Netherlands has got off to a great start, with sales beyond our expectations.

“We look forward to offering both business and leisure travellers more choice and flexibility with a higher frequency of services coming this year.”