French National Railways (SNCF), Belgian National Railways (SNCB) and Patina Rail (a consortium of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Hermes Infrastructure) announced the plans to combine Thalys and Eurostar under the Green Speed project.
The two railway operators provide transport services to UK, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany, together running 112 trains per day, serving more than 18.5 million passengers annually.
“The creation of a combined European high speed rail company woulddeliver 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. High speed is an opportunity for Europe, Europe an opportunity for high speed!” Guillaume Pepy, Chairman of SNCF, said.
Five objectives were unveiled under the Green Speed project:
• To provide an attractive alternative to air and road travel for nearly 30 million passengers per year by 2030;
• To maximise the use of renewable energy for its fleet until 2030 further reducing its CO2 emissions in support of the EU’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions;
• To provide seamless and efficient services with one single ticket between the countries and cities;
• To introduce a joint loyalty programme across the unified network giving passengers access to attractive travel;
• To provide high quality services for all its customers.
By combining the resources, particularly the fleets as well as information and distribution systems, the Green Speed will increase the economic efficiency and provide the customer with an enhanced, sustainable commercial service, delivering on the ambition to increase the number of direct links between European cities in the future.
“Thalys and Eurostar joining forces would come at the right time and could only be beneficial to all travellers. It would combine railway expertise with stable shareholders,” Sophie Dutordoir, CEO of SNCB and Chairman of Thalys, said.