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Europe rail merger could expand net


A planned merger of two European rail networks could result in direct rail service between the UK and Germany, among other possible extensions.

The two are Eurostar, which operates through the Channel Tunnel, mainly serving Paris, Brussels, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and Thalys which operates high speed trains connecting France, Belgium and the Netherlands with Cologne and several other German cities.

Both systems are majority-owned by French rail operator SNCF, with participation from SNCB, the Belgian rail operator and investors including Quebec's public pension system. Linking the two networks together would enable Eurostar/Thalys trains to operate across both current networks.

The plan was proposed in later 2019 by the operators, but has stalled over the past two years, but is reported near completion. The combined operation would be a new company called Eurostar Group, although it's not clear if the Thalys name would be completely dropped.

Image: Eurostar and Thalys together at Amsterdam

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