Home / Travel Services / Eurostar and Thalys Merge to Make it Easier to Travel by Train between 5 Countries


Two high-speed train companies have teamed up to form a rail giant that will service five countries on the continent.

After Tuesday’s approval by the European Commission, Eurostar and Thalys will merge to form a single operator that connects the UK, France and Belgium with the Netherlands and Germany.

The plan was originally announced in 2019, but ticket sales dropped overnight due to the pandemic, which forced the cancellation of the plans. Both companies were in financial trouble, with Eurostar almost going out of business.

The Commission has now approved the decision. It found that the decision would not raise any concerns according to EU competition rules and had very little effect on the structure of rail markets.


What is Project Green Speed?

Thalys operates high-speed routes between France and Germany, while Eurostar services the Channel Tunnel route from London to Paris Brussels or Amsterdam. Both companies are majority owned by SNCF, a French railway company.

The climate emergency and the need for eco-responsible transportation require an ambitious response. When the project was first proposed, SNCF Guillaume Pepy stated that he wanted to combine the strengths of Eurostar with Thalys to address this challenge.

Pepy said that European high-speed railways are an attractive alternative to road or air transport for the company’s 18.5million passengers.

Project Green Speed is the name of the merger. It aims to double the number of passengers each year to 30 million by 2030. It hopes to maximize the use of renewable energy within its combined train fleet.

Sophie Dutordoir (CEO of Belgian rail company SNCB) and chairman of Thalys’ board, said that the merger would only benefit passengers.

“This merger project is based upon the firm belief train travel is the best, most sustainable, fastest, efficient, and safest method to travel in Europe. Now more than ever!”

What does the merger between Eurostar and Thalys bring for passengers?

Consumers will see a better booking, ticketing, and loyalty program across the entire network.

Passengers will find it easier to take, for instance, a Eurostar flight to Paris and then connect with a Thalys flight to travel to Germany.

The future could see services running all the way from London via Brussels to cities currently serviced by Thalys like Cologne or Frankfurt.

All UK-bound passengers will need to go through border control before they can board the train. This means that stations at these stations will need to add processing terminals such as those at Paris Gare du Nord or London St Pancras, which may take some time.

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