Christmas shopping in France - no problem!

PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 June 2007 | UPDATED: 22:54 28 May 2010

Forget the French markets in Wisbech and Whittlesey. This year it s going to be comparatively easy to go Christmas shopping in Paris. From the end of November, Eurostar trains will be running direct from St Pancras. All you ll have to do is pop along to P

Forget the French markets in Wisbech and Whittlesey. This year it's going to be comparatively easy to go Christmas shopping in Paris. From the end of November, Eurostar trains will be running direct from St Pancras.

All you'll have to do is pop along to Peterborough station.

Fifty minutes later you'll be in King's Cross. That's the difficult bit.

You'll then walk through the stunning new underground station to reach St Pancras next door - and board Eurostar. A little over two hours later, you'll be in Paris Nord and within easy reach of all the best boutiques.

It raises the glorious possibility (but not much hope) that Fen ladies will soon be wearing stylish tailored clothing - a vast improvement on the shapeless anoraks favoured by the more mature local lady and the over-stretched top and low-waisted jeans worn by younger lasses.

The trouble with this combination is that it reveals more bum cleavage than does an overweight brickie.

Even if you don't intend to go day-tripping to Paris, Eurostar (along with the ongoing growth of Felixstowe docks) will change life around here.

An ever increasing number of freight trains taking containers to and from Felixstowe will have to avoid the now crowded route through north London on their way to the north and the Midlands.

Their only alternative is to rattle through Manea, March, Whittlesey and, yes, over the level crossing at King's Dyke. Not long ago, only a handful of freight trains used this route. Now at least 30 do so every day.

Despite the line being temporarily blocked by last week's accident near Ely, as more freight goes by rail, many more trains will cross the Fens. One day, they may even electrify the route - which, incidentally, will do nothing to lower house prices in March once direct electric trains can reach London.

Motorists may fume at the thought of longer and even more frequent waits at level crossings along the route - but don't forget the alternative. A recent transport survey predicts that, unless we use rail more and more, by the year 2020 there will be, for example, more than a million heavy goods vehicles using the A47 between Wisbech and Guyhirn every year.

If that happens, you've little chance of shopping in Peterborough, never mind Paris.

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