EIL began as European Passenger Services (EPS), a division of British Rail. The Privatisation of British Rail saw EPS sold to LCR as part of the 1996 deal with the UK government to build and operate High Speed 1 between London and the Channel Tunnel. LCR named the company Eurostar (UK) Ltd (EUKL). Formerly EUKL, SNCF and SNCB were each responsible for the running of Eurostar services on their own territory.
As part of the 1996 reorganisation a management contract for EUKL was to be awarded. Two bids for the contract were submitted by Virgin Group and Inter-Capital and Regional Rail (ICRR). ICRR was awarded the contract which runs from 1998 till 2010. Shareholders in ICRR are