High Speed Rail Providers Join Forces To Connect 5 European Destinations

High Speed Rail Providers Join Forces To Connect 5 European Destinations

Two high-speed train companies are combining forces to create a rail giant that will serve five countries across the continent.

A merger of cross-border operator Eurostar and Belgium-based Thalys will connect the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.

The merging of the two companies has been approved by the European Commission on 29 March 2022. Expanding rail travel is part of the EU's broader goal of curbing emissions from transport.

The new company, to be called Eurostar, will be headquartered in Brussels.

It was first announced in 2019 but the pandemic caused ticket sales to drop overnight, pushing back the plans. Both companies suffered financial difficulties with Eurostar nearly going out of business.

Now the decision has been approved by the European Commission which found that it would not raise any concerns under EU competition rules, with very little impact on the structure of the rail market.

Project Green Speed

Thalys currently runs high-speed routes between France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium while Eurostar runs services through the Channel Tunnel from London to Paris Brussels, and Amsterdam. 

Known as Project Green Speed, the merger aims to increase passenger numbers to 30 million a year by 2030 while also maximising the use of renewable energy in its combined fleet of trains.

The main benefits for consumers will be better scheduling, ticketing, and a common loyalty programme across the entire unified network.

It will be easier for passengers to take a Eurostar service to Paris then connect with a Thalys service to travel on to Germany.

All UK-bound travellers will have to pass through border control before getting on the train. It means that these stations will have to add processing terminals like the ones at Paris Gare du Nord and London St Pancras which could take some time to implement.

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