Locals from a once-bustling UK town are fuming after the Eurostar terminal it houses has been left to rot.
Ashford in Kent is the location of the Eurostar terminal closed three years ago during the pandemic.
And while the company has gone back and forth over whether or not to re-open it, 23,000 fuming residents have signed a petition to urge the company to open it back up.
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The terminal was often used as a direct link to Disneyland, Paris, and recent photos from the inside of it showed how the advertising for trips to the top tourist destination are littered everywhere, while the terminal collects dust.
“Walking through the railway station, it's so sad and empty,” Janet Halliburton, who lives in the area, said.
"When I used to work in London, there were always several hundred small children going to Disneyland and the hotels were always full.
“Businesses have moved to Ashford because of its international links, but now there aren't any, they must be going out of their mind.
“Ashford is destroyed. I moved here 27 years ago, and I have just watched it slowly decline.
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“Nobody wants to drive to Gatwick to get a flight to the continent when they could just as easily get a train.
“We have this facility and it's outrageous we can't use it.”
A group called Bring Back Eurostar has been launched, and has seen a wave of backing from residents.
More than 23,000 people signed a petition calling for international service to be reinstated in Kent earlier this year.
Monica Nash, part of the group, said: “We used to use it for days out over to Europe and for holidays.
“Before lockdown I could have got on at Ashford and I could have gone all the way to Lille.
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“Flying is an option but it is not environmentally friendly.”
Eurostar services began running between London Waterloo, Paris and Brussels in 1994.
Two years later, they began stopping in Ashford after an 18-month, £80million construction project, to transform the station into "Ashford International".
But now the ticket office shutters are down, the international side of the station deserted and the future remains unclear.
Eurostar's former chief executive previously explained how the pandemic, Brexit and soaring inflation scuppered hopes of restarting Kent services.
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Jacques Damas, who left the cross-Channel rail operator last year, previously said he understood the frustration of those wanting international trains to run again, but increased border friction and tough economic headwinds make it impossible for the services to be financially viable.
A spokesman from Eurostar said: “Services will not stop at Ebbsfleet or Ashford International stations in 2023, and we cannot make any commitment for another two to three years.
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“While we continue to operate in an uncertain and fragile environment, we must focus on our most profitable inter-capital routes to enable us to meet our financial commitments, stabilise our operation and our customer experience, before considering any further developments.
“We understand this is disappointing for the local communities, and we will continue to work closely and openly with the local councils on the future of the stations.”
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