Eurostar-Thalys merger would create massive high-speed rail system

The combined network of Eurostar and Thalys would link five countries under the new Green Speed banner.

By David Flynn, September 30 2019

High-speed rail operators Eurostar and Thalys plan to merge and create a single network dubbed Green Speed, spanning five countries and linking London, Paris Amsterdam, Cologne, Brussels, Bordeaux and Marseille.

Between them, Eurostar and Thalys run 112 trains per day carrying more than 18.5 million passengers per year – and as the combined Green Speed entity, would offer “seamless travel for passengers with one ticket covering any journey across the network and better connections between trains," according to a statement issued by both operators.

There would also be "a single passenger loyalty programme" to reward frequent riders.

The unified Green Speed rail network would span five countries.

Subject to negotiations, Eurostar could run directly between London and Amsterdam by the end of 2019 – the route current requires changing trains at Brussels. However, Thalys trains would not be able to use the Channel Tunnel due to its strict safety and operating standards.

Environmental issues are front and centre in the Green Speed proposal, which would recognise "the challenge of climate change and Europe’s growing demand for eco-responsible and sustainable travel," says Guillaume Pepy, CEO of French National Railways (SNCF), which holds a majority stake in both Eurostar and Thalys.

“Bringing together the strengths of Eurostar and Thalys would be a powerful response to this challenge. The creation of a combined European high-speed rail company would deliver a compelling alternative to road and air travel for our 18.5 million passengers and would herald a new era in the development of European high-speed rail services."

The Green Speed proposal puts environmental concerns front and centre.

Thalys Chairman Sophie Dutordoir echoed Pepy's remarks, adding that combining Eurostar and Thalys "would be based on the strong conviction that, now more than ever, the train is the safest, most sustainable, fastest and most efficient solution for travelling inside Europe."

The merger would reduce operating costs by combining the two operators’ information and distribution systems, and management of their train fleets.

The Green Speed plan will now be put to the boards of the three owners of Eurostar and Thalys to seek their approval, after which it would need the green light from EU competition officials.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

kimshep

kimshep

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 492

Not so sure that Germany's deBahn network will be impressed. de Bahn has run high-speed ICE trains between Cologne and Brussels for years, which already connect to the Eurostar BRU-LON services.

2A

2A

23 Feb 2017

Total posts 13

Eurostar has been running direct from London to Amsterdam via Brussels with an intermediate call in Rotterdam since 4 April 2018. BUT - Fortress Britain requires everyone to de-train with their luggage for border formalities at Brussels (and then re-board the same train) in the Amsterdam - London direction. This is not required on the London - Amsterdam journey. Hopefully this nonsense will be sorted later this year. Patronage has not surprisingly been higher London - Amsterdam with many travellers opting to fly back to avoid the hassle. I do hope the Eurostar brand will be retained if the merger goes ahead. Just for those who might be interested in the London - Amsterdam journey, I particularly recommend the overnight ferry from Harwich - Hoek van Holland (Stena Line). Leave London early evening to enjoy a very comfortable cabin and excellent meal on board. In the morning take the metro (20 paces from the ferry exit) to Schiedam in Rotterdam and then on to the Dutch rail network. Bargain inclusive rail fares too. That's what I was doing last night. RC

superpang

superpang

03 Oct 2019

Total posts 2

Why the old images, Eurostar have had new trains the past few years....this is like posting a retired Qantas 767 instead of the dreamliner.

2A

2A

23 Feb 2017

Total posts 13

Greetings superpang, re. the images accompanying the article, both are of the original Eurostar fleet, based on the French TGV and built by Alstom. The top image is the most dated as it also has the original Eurostar logo. The second image has the current logo but old livery. Withdrawal of these sets is advanced, however a number are still in service standing in for non-availability of the new trains and also operating long distance services into France such as Marseille. The new sets are built by Siemens and based on a recent iteration of the German ICE. Personally I prefer the old trains. The seats are softer on my aging and increasingly pedantic body. RC

megabytez

megabytez

Etihad - Etihad Guest

28 Mar 2019

Total posts 1

I would say the top image (cover, below the title) has the new Eurostar logo and the second image (train coming out of the tunnel) has the old Eurostar logo.

Took the Eurostar back in 2015 (old stock) and I agree - the seats were old but comfy.

2A

2A

23 Feb 2017

Total posts 13

You are correct megabytez. Either the images have been reversed or I am cracking up. If I was a betting man, I'd be putting my money on the latter. RC


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