Oct.15 - Booming passenger numbers at Eurostar may point to a recovery in business activity. But as Julian Satterthwaite reports, the gains don't look evenly divided between London and Paris.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~** Eurostar trains arriving in London are getting busier by the day. And that's not just good news for rail company. Third-quarter passenger numbers are up five percent and revenues are doing even better. No wonder the company says it will finally meet its target of ten million passengers a year. As a bellwether for business activity that offers hope to economies on both sides of the Channel. Business and leisure travel has improved and there are signs the recovery is broad based - if not yet evenly-spread. Eurostar CEO Nicolas Petrovic. SOUNDBITE: NICOLAS PETROVIC, EUROSTAR CEO, SAYING (ENGLISH): "What we think is going to happen is that the UK economy is going to keep growing - at a nice pace, not a crazy boom, but the pickup in the economy getting stronger and stronger. Still a bit more muted on the continent, but getting slightly better." Eurostar is feeling confident enough to plan significant expansion. New trains start to arrive in 2015. Services from London to Amsterdam are due to begin a year later. But dangers remains. SOUNDBITE: NICOLAS PETROVIC, EUROSTAR CEO, SAYING (ENGLISH): "The global economy's confidence - that's the big risk. Whether it's a default in the U.S. or a crisis in Italy. No one knows where these days where it could come from, but the big risk is knocking off confidence in the global economy." The robust UK outlook has even prompted Eurostar to consider taking over Britain's main east coast line. But problems far from London could yet see those plans derailed.