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Britons head to Europe on the train

Britons who are travelling to mainland Europe are increasingly opting to do so by train, it has been revealed.

According to Eurostar, the current problems in the airline industry have led to many opting for alternative forms of travel, such as railways.

Simon Montague, director of corporate communications at the firm, added that the greater reliability of trains has also swayed customers.

For example, he said Eurostar's punctuality figure in 2008 was more than 92 per cent, compared with 65.4 per cent in the aviation sector.

"We have seen a considerable switch over the last year from plane to train," Mr Montague noted.

He described rail travel as a more convenient option for consumers, as well as a relaxing alternative that allows people to use their travel time productively.

According to the latest statistics from Eurostar, annual passenger numbers exceeded nine million for the first time in 2008.