Eurostar Thalys merger?

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by Gadget88, 27 Sep 2019.

  1. Gadget88

    Gadget88 Member

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    https://www.railwaygazette.com/high...ed-under-green-speed-initiative/54709.article

    Mentions more cities and better ticketing perhaps Cologne finally being served by Eurostar?
     
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  3. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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  4. Aictos

    Aictos Established Member

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    Would this mean both companies working in partnership but with separate branding ie like airline code sharing that a British Airways flight from London to Chicago has a BA flight number as well as a American Airlines flight number OR would it mean them working in partnership for a temporary period before rebranding both operations under a unified brand ie like when Orange UK and T Mobile UK merged to form Everything Everywhere (EE)?

    Personally I’m in favour of the merger!
     
  5. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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    There are more Thalys trains between Brussels and Cologne than ICEs
     
  6. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Developing a common fleet will be complicated by the Channel Tunnel safety rules.
    The route map is missing one important thing - extension beyond London via HS2, sadly ruled out by HMG.
    It looks more like an alliance proposal rather than a merger to me.
    The minority UK arm has little influence these days, HMG having sold off its share to CDPQ and Hermes.
    But better integration of international services is welcome.
     
  7. 37201xoIM

    37201xoIM Member

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    Indeed, absolutely - provided that is in fact what happens. EST and DB are not exactly going the right way at present, as witness for example the withdrawal of DB's London-Speziale, and indeed the poor westbound connections out of ICEs at Brussels South.
     
  8. LeeLivery

    LeeLivery Member

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    It makes sense and anything to make rail travel easier is good in my book. More cities could well mean London to Cologne and Frankfurt. It could also mean serving Turin and Milan once the new route is constructed and Strasbourg. Getting creative, adding TGV Lyria would be even better for linking the network with Switzerland.

    Planning to double passenger numbers, a unified fleet would surely mean the end of the Thalys fleet and the 373s for the new double decker Alstom Horizon. That would be interesting indeed.
     
  9. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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  10. Gerald Fiennes

    Gerald Fiennes Member

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    a. If Thalys dominate the new entity, watch for service standards slipping further. Many of the THA trains need a good deep clean and a further refurbishment. Their high load factors mean intensive use of the vehicle interiors!
    b. Better coordination on timetables is, of course, fearsomely difficult. The ES slots on the LGV-Europe are super restricted, and the timetable also needs to tie up with Belgian timetable from Brussel Zuid to Nord and Mechlen to Antwerp and the German ICE services between Frankfurt and Cologne and platform capacity at Cologne. So unless someone is prepared to budge up fairly heavily (perhaps the ICEs could move up from the xx.25 slots from Frankfurt Hbf), there's probably not much doing here?
     
  11. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    The whole LGV Nord timetable structure is very rigid. Eurostar is set towards both Paris and Brussels by its half-hourly flighted pair of trains through the Channel Tunnel, the Paris-Lille TGVs are then flighted with the Paris-London Eurostars, Thalys seems to be driven by its turnround time at Gare du Nord, etc. Then space is left for the Interconnection TGVs to drop in and call at Haute-Picardie, etc
     
  12. Wirewiper

    Wirewiper Member

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    I don't know if this is the right place to make a suggestion, but I would like to take the Ashford International calls out of Eurostar altogether and instead run Ashford International - Lille Europe - Paris Nord TGVs effectively as part of TGV Nord. Border control would take place at Ashford International for arriving as well as departing passengers.

    The drawback is that currently all passengers using the Channel Tunnel are required to undergo security screening and this requirement cannot be removed without amending the Treaty of Canterbury.
     
  13. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    The other drawback is running a TGV all the way through to Ashford solely to serve a relatively quiet station. E* flies on it's London demand - an Ashford only service just doesn't stack up.
     
  14. Wirewiper

    Wirewiper Member

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    That's partly why I suggested Ashford as an extension of TGV Nord. At present the Ashford service is poor, which unless I am mistaken is because of the time it takes a Eurostar to negotiate the awkward track layout to call at the station, which makes scheduling stops there difficult. A TGV service terminating there could operate at a more attractive frequency, which would improve connections to and from Paris with local SouthEastern services (especially to and from Canterbury, an important tourist destination and Dover which is becoming a major cruise port) and Southern's Ashford - Brighton services. And Ashford - Brussels would be an easy change at Lille-Europe. There might even be a case for an occasional Ashford - Brussels - Amsterdam Thalys.
     
  15. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Apparently the problem which prevents class 374 sets calling at Ashford will be resolved soon.
    It's to do with signalling interference from the DC lines, which isn't a problem with 373s.
    Full timetable from April 2020 apparently.
    (piece in Modern Railways October).
     
  16. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Not these days. 5 vs 7.
     
  17. Gadget88

    Gadget88 Member

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  18. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    Too good to be true.
    I don't see the business case for Dortmund.
    Cologne would be interesting for connections throughout Germany including the Ruhr.
    The only suitable station must me Messe/Deutz ad the Hauptbahnhof is already stretched to capacity with no space for a sterile platform.
     
  19. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    It seems so long ago that DB took an ICE train to St Pancras and teased people.

    Oh, it was long ago! 2010 in fact, with a planned introduction of 2013..

    ICE09.jpg 19102010024.jpg
     
  20. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    And here we are in 2019 and still nothing - depressing isn't it.
     
  21. JonathanP

    JonathanP Member

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    Given that the only quotes from the company are about ticketing arrangements and a vague promise to "increase the number of direct links between European cities in the future.", I suspect the journalists involved have little awareness of the complexity of international high speed train services and are being a bit optimistic.

    As it stands Eurostar have no trains capable of operating to Germany(though they could be adapted) and Thalys do not operate to Frankfurt and have no trains capable of doing so(there are special requirements for the Köln - Frankfurt high speed line).

    Eurostar uses the same NS International drivers that drive Thalys services for their services to the Netherlands, and the return trips that are not able to carry passengers to London run as Thalys services. They are clearly very much 'in bed' with Thalys already, even without a formal merger, so to me this seems more like a branding and sales merger than something that will have a big effect operationally.

    Do you really think so? Why?

    Setting themselves up as a competing Tunnel operator, requiring enourmous investment in a fleet of compatible trains, qualified staff, station facilities, all to run a couple of train pairs a day sounds like financial suicide.
     
  22. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Dortmund is where Thalys go, so someone has put 2 and 2 together and made....
    Koeln would be p1, where they'd have to repurpose/relocate the lounges. It's a busy station by German standards, but IMO the throats are more of a problem than the number of platforms. Altering Deutz HL would be considerably more difficult.
     
  23. MontyP

    MontyP Member

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    Here we go again, it seems like every few months there is a story like this and then nothing happens.

    I just wonder whether the growing pressure around climate change might this time force the authorities to look at the various regulations that seem to get in the way of cross-border high speed train services.
     
  24. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    I haven't heard about ES and Thalys merging before.

    Apart from the UK, which is a special case (alternative adjectives are available) which routes are affected by such regulations?
     
  25. Gadget88

    Gadget88 Member

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    But we have seen check in areas built in Amsterdam and Rotterdam if anybody said trains would go to Holland a few years ago nobody would believe it. The trains also needed adapted and they did. They can be adapted again for Germany.
     
  26. S-Car-Go

    S-Car-Go Member

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    The merger has been on the cards for some time. I expect Lyria will join also at some stage bearing in mind they have recently restructured their classes of service to match Eurostar (Standard, Standard Premier, & Business Premier).
    The current merger may be to facilitate pathways (which they currently compete for) on the high speed lines, platform access, and to make connections between Eurostar & Thalys easier.
    Eurostar is changing to a new ticketing system this year and it is known that DB will not be able to book through tickets because of the change. So by merging with Thalys, you get a company that can book through to Germany offering tickets on their own system. Direct London-Köln services at a later date... possibly.
     
  27. Cloud Strife

    Cloud Strife Member

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    It's the lack of thinking about such regulations. The UK seems hell-bent on keeping juxtaposed border controls when they make little sense for Eurostar - it would be more than enough to schedule a stop at Calais-Frethun for 5 minutes, so that anyone suspicious could be removed. UK Border Force could conduct visual checks between Lille Europe and Calais, with full controls on arrival at St Pancras. It would be enough to just glance at passports between Lille-Calais, as they will already have been checked on departure by the respective border polices in the Schengen area. If someone fails the visual check, then they can be checked, and if there's still a problem, then they can be taken off at Calais pending a more detailed border check.
     
  28. cle

    cle Established Member

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    It's also about London-Brussels demand plummeting if Brexit goes ahead, and acrimoniously (seems likely to be so, if it happens) - and what future revenue streams Eurostar might look to when that drops off.

    Bordeaux seems the absolute lowest hanging fruit - along with bolstering Lyon (facilities?) and further south. And adding Disney calls to those - in conjunction with extending the Disney south perhaps, if paths are tight.

    Another idea may well be a fast category of trains, like the Amsterdams, which are non-stop Brussels and then onwards.
    Versus a slower terminating category with Ebbsfleet/Ashford, Calais and Lille stops. However - Lille to Rotterdam/Amsterdam/Cologne might be an international market worth exploring.
     
  29. Polarbear

    Polarbear Established Member

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    If the merger goes ahead, it's doubtful if much will change as regards routes for a while. As well as the costs of equipping trains to operate in Germany, there's also the matter of establishing customs facilities and having a "sterile" area at those station served by any extended or new services.
     
  30. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    Exactly. It will give the resultant company the benefit of economies of scale, but I doubt very much that any of that will bring tangible benefits for the customer.
     
  31. deltic

    deltic Established Member

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    The main benefit of a merger could possibly be cheaper through ticketing
     

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