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Eurostar plans faster, 200-mph trains, new routes in 2015

Eurostar marks 20th year with a sale on tickets starting at $92 round-trip aboard the high-speed trains

Eurostar train travelers will be able to check emails and texts for free and charge their mobile devices on sleek next-generation trains that will debut next year. 

The company also plans to expand service to the French cities of Provence and Marseilles. Amsterdam may be added in the next few years.

The rail service that connects Britain with the Continent marked its 20th year Friday by rolling out a new e320 train at King's Cross-St Pancras Station in London. It plans to add 17 starting in 2015.

The trains are named for their top speed of 320 kilometers per hour, or 200 mph. Eurostar trains currently have a maximum speed of 186 mph.

The new trains have the same yellow-and-blue bullet look but are lighter and a little wider. Each holds 900 passengers, 20% more capacity, and has redesigned seats and tables to be roomier and more comfortable.

Eurostar is offering round-trip tickets starting at $92 for standard seats and $233 for standard premier seats to celebrate its two-decade anniversary. The sale is good from now until Nov. 24 for travel between Jan. 5 and Feb. 12. (I checked online and found these prices available but also found lower prices too.)

Eurostar service operates from London to Paris, Brussels and Lille, France. Starting in May, it will add Provence, France, stopping at Lyon, Avignon and Marseille. Service to Amsterdam with stops in the Netherlands is planned for 2016.

Info: Eurostar

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