Eurostar sales revenues grew by 9% to £253 million in the first quarter of the year as passenger carryings rose by 4% to 2.36 million.

The year-on-year growth was underpinned by a further increase in the number of US travellers as well as more business travellers using the high-speed passenger service through the Channel Tunnel.

US passengers rose by 27% over the same period last year while the number of business travellers using the service increased by 6%.

This came as ahead Eurostar’s new service from London St Pancras to Amsterdam and Rotterdam which started on April 4.

With more than four million passengers a year travelling by air between London and Amsterdam, the market is the same size as the London to Paris market at the time of Eurostar’s launch of service in 1994.

The number of travellers between London and Paris has more than doubled over the last 23 years, giving Eurostar “significant” growth potential for the new Amsterdam service.

Eurostar is also offering a range of hand-picked hotels with special rates and benefits for passengers via a new online platform.

Eurostar chief executive Mike Cooper said: “We have made a positive start to the year and reported a good performance in the first quarter buoyed up by growth in the US and business markets.

“Our new service from London to Amsterdam has met with an enthusiastic response and demand is strong as customers welcome this compelling alternative to the airlines.”