Thalys and Eurostar may merge into one entity
European cross-border high-speed railway operators Thalys and Eurostar may merge into one entity. By 2030, the combined company will serve 30 million passengers a year and make a significant contribution to the EU’s ‘shift to rail’ policy. The merging project of two operators was called the Green Speed.
The proposal to combine Thalys and Eurostar has been presented today, on 27 September, by SNCF, NMBS/SNCB and Patina Rail LLP (shareholder of Eurostar with 40 per cent stake) to their Boards of Directors. If the Green Speed project receives approvals from the management of these companies, it should be authorised by the European Commission due to the competition concerns.
According to the participants of the Green Speed project, the combined cross-border high-speed railway will create new opportunities for better mobility in Europe. It will be able to connect the banks of the Thames with the Mediterranean, the North Sea with the Atlantic, the flats of Low Countries with to the Alpine peaks. Today, Thalys and Eurostar are serving five countries – France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany where nearly 245 million people live. They offer their customers more than 112 trains every day and carry more than 18.5 million passengers a year.
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Thalys and Eurostar network, source: NMBS/SNCB.
“Since their creation, Eurostar and Thalys share the same raison d’être: to connect Europeans across borders while respecting the environment. Over the past 25 years, two companies have revolutionised the world of transportation and created a new generation of eco-responsible travellers, making city-to-city travel in Europe quick and easy,” the project participants stated in a joint communique.
Establishment of a new operator will provide five advantages to the customers, say the companies. Among these would be:
- an alternative to road and air transportation for nearly 30 million passengers a year by 2030;
- better use of renewable energy and reduction of CO2 emissions;
- optimised train schedule and network;
- lower prices for train tickets and a common loyalty program;
- quality service based on the experience of both companies.