Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Trains

Virgin Tunnel: Richard Branson could challenge Eurostar monopoly

Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Trains Virgin Trains

Sir Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group, is reportedly gearing up for a bid to break Eurostar’s long-held monopoly on Channel Tunnel rail services. The news, according to sources cited by The Telegraph newspaper in London, proposes that there may be a red liveried train in the Channel Tunnel to rival the familiar grey of Eurostar. The move, if confirmed, marks Branson’s return to the UK rail sector. It is four years after his Virgin Trains operation was controversially ousted from its West Coast franchise.

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Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is UK correspondent for and

2 comments op “Virgin Tunnel: Richard Branson could challenge Eurostar monopoly”

stewart montgomery|14.11.23|00:03

Still don’t understand why I can’t catch a train to Hannover or Berlin from London. 20+ years after the tunnel opening it’s very odd that it’s only operations are still 1 operator and 3 major cities. Technically with modern signalling there should be a high speed Train running though every 5 mins. That would put the London st pancras in a better position to challenge the major airports. I guess more services would mean a major overhaul of security though as it already struggles

Cal Smyth|14.11.23|12:54

Many reasons:

– Security and immigration facilities are already crowded in London
– Hannover and Berlin are unlikely to want to/be able to build immigration facilities in their stations
– HS1 track access fees are very high, meaning it’s hard to be competitive with fares
– You need special trains to be able to use the Channel Tunnel
– You can fly far quicker and often cheaper

I can see this working, but you won’t get extensive services from London without the UK joining Schengen.

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Virgin Tunnel: Richard Branson could challenge Eurostar monopoly |