The lasting allure of travel by rail is thanks, in large part, to the magical feeling of gazing at the scenery passing by your train window. But this experience is impossible when crossing between Europe and the United Kingdom by railway—all trains must pass through a secured tunnel built below the English Channel’s surface.
Impossible, that is, until now.
Eurostar’s newly launched “Eurostar Odyssey” takes train travelers on a virtual voyage under the sea while on a literal voyage across the English Channel. The unique, immersive experience—launched at the peak of summer travel season for families—intends to help the young (and the young-spirited) explore the depths of the sea that surrounds them as they cross the English Channel on Eurostar’s high-speed trains.
When passengers take a seat and log into Eurostar’s app, they can begin the voyage on their personal device. When they look through the screen, the roof of the train converts into a glass ceiling, revealing the deep sea around them. The virtual journey, guided by two ocean explorers, Rose and Benoit, entertains with plentiful stories, from pirates’ legends of lost treasures to mermaid and octopus encounters. There’s even a gaming element, for those who enjoy competition.
“Eurostar Odyssey captures the journey to Europe in a new dimension with a 360⁰ immersive perspective,” Loring Allen, Rail Europe’s director of integrated communications, says. “As travelers make their way at high speed under the channel, they’ll enter the hidden depths of the seabed for the first time, looking into a virtual world of sea creatures, sunken treasures, and mysterious seascapes.”
Throughout July and August, specially designed, free headsets—available in English, French and Dutch—will be distributed on board all e320 and e300 trains between London and Paris, Lille and Brussels. The adventure can be accessed by logging into Eurostar’s onboard entertainment system on a passenger’s own Apple or Android device.