Eurostar, the high-speed train service linking London with destinations in France and Belgium, has announced an onboard virtual reality experience that aims to make the journey both more immersive and more entertaining. Eurostar has developed specially designed headsets that connect through the on board entertainment system, with riders’ personal Apple or Android devices to deliver a unique experience. As the train enters the tunnel underneath the English Channel, travellers put on their headsets and watch as the roof of the virtual train transforms into a glass ceiling, revealing an underwater world of “sea creatures, sunken treasures and mysterious sea-scapes.” The virtual journey is guided by two virtual underwater explorers, who provide entertaining stories of pirates, mermaids, and gaming elements.
Nick Mercer, Commercial Director, Eurostar, explained the thinking behind the new entertainment: “Travellers are always asking if they can see the fish when travelling through the channel tunnel, and we’re really excited to make it possible as the first travel company to give its customers an immersive 3D experience.” Eurostar hopes the headsets will encourage families to choose the train over flying. The headsets are available and free throughout the summer holidays on all of Eurostar’s new e320 and refurbished e300 trains.
Virtual reality has seen a host of new applications recently, from helping smokers quit, to virtual DIY training and providing relief to cancer patients. Now, Eurostar is using virtual reality to provide both entertainment and an incentive to take the train. Will this be the start of virtual reality as a standard entertainment option on all forms of travel?