Eurostar is to start competing with airlines with a direct service to Amsterdam through the channel tunnel.

A journey time of around four hours is being promised after a deal was agreed with Dutch railways to launch direct services between London and Amsterdam from December 2016.

The Eurostar service will feature its new e320 trains which will be compatible with  high-speed signalling systems in Holland.

The high speed rail company plans to run two services a day between London and Amsterdam.

These services will run via Brussels, stopping at Antwerp, Rotterdam, Schiphol airport and Amsterdam.

The London-Amsterdam route is the largest international airline market in Europe attracting more than 3 million passengers a year.

Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: 
“We have long been ambitious for expansion to new destinations so today’s announcement marks a major advance in our growth plans.

“Our fast, comfortable, point-to-point service will greatly enhance the links between the UK and the near continent, revolutionising travel between these important financial and tourist hubs.”