By Marcus Leach

A rise in US travellers has seen sales and passenger numbers at Eurostar grow for the first six months of 2011.

Revenue in the six months to June rose 4% on a year ago to £421 million, while passenger numbers increased by 3% to 4.7 million.

Eurostar said that growth was particularly strong given that last year's figures benefited from increased revenues resulting from the ash cloud disruption.

A 'strong increase' in passengers from the US contributed to a 21% increase in international passengers.

"It really helped us because many people tried our service who had never tried it before," Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said commenting on the ash cloud disruption, which grounded airlines across Europe.

"Our key selling point against airlines is convenience, comfort, and the ability to work on board," he told the BBC.

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