News

Thalys resorts to cutting schedules 

2 Aug 2022 by Alex McWhirter
Thalys train

Both Eurostar and Thalys face capacity problems right now as you will have read on this site. 

Eurostar cannot cope with demand while fellow operator Thalys suffers from a lack of rolling stock. 

Matters at Thalys have now come to a head. 

In the space of two weeks Thalys has suffered no fewer than three failures leaving several thousand passengers stranded for hours. 

Thalys will be changing its schedules over the coming weeks while the units undergo repairs. 

Perhaps the worst incident occurred just outside Paris where passengers were stranded for hours on Thalys in conditions of intense 45 degrees Celsius heat without air-conditioning. 

This incident made the news in Hong Kong. 

There were then two further train failures in the following days. 

Here’s the second failure – the cause is under investigation.

In the third incident, which happened a few days ago, Thalys’ 800 passengers (equating to a fully loaded train) were stranded overnight.

Granted this latest failure was not down to a technical error. Thalys had struck an animal on the mainline.

Yes, I know it’s not easy but the incident could have been handled better. Let’s face it, Thalys is a prestigious operator on the important Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris route albeit with a monopoly. 

Brussels Times reports:

“During the evening the stricken train was evacuated and the passengers were given the choice of walking to a hotel [consider passengers were stranded remotely on a mainline], paying for a taxi to Brussels or staying in makeshift accommodation provided by the company.” 

Those passengers who opted for the train found there was no power or air conditioning. 

Why is Thalys short of capacity?

Because it has received no extra trainsets for over 20 years. In that time its market has grown and grown. 

I believe this is the reason why Thalys cancelled its IZY service, much to the delight of the bus operators. Axing IZY gave its parent operator more capacity. 

It is true that pre-pandemic IZY had leased an 18-car trainset from Eurostar but, during the pandemic, that set was towed away for scrapping. 

Railway media reports that Thalys is revising its timetable. Railtech.com quotes a Thalys spokesperson as saying:

“We regret this extraordinary situation. We attach great importance to customer satisfaction and will go above and beyond to resolve this situation the best we can.” 

I suggest passengers check latest schedules directly with Thalys. 

thalys.com

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