Eurostar “plans up to 50 new trains and more services”

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  • AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Don’t get too excited by today’s FT piece.

    Eurostar now includes Thalys and the latter’s fleet consists of 1990s units some of which must be towards the end of their life.

    (High-speed rolling stock has a shorter lifespan)

    Thalys is also short of capacity. It means services are expensive are often fully booked. So more capacity is needed to meet demand.

    As for Eurostar (the main UK link) its network has, Netherlands excepted, barely changed in 30 years. Indeed one might say it’s smaller now that its Kent stations plus Calais are not served and the CEO cannot indicate if or when they will be served.

    CEO Gwendoline Cazenave tells FT that more details will be announced late 2024 or early 2025.

    Possible FT paywall.

    https://www.ft.com/content/97f7a39b-0536-40e2-bbdd-e1d755418804


    x2000traveller
    Participant

    Yes, the former Thalys fleet dates from c.1996/97. They’ve been refurbed twice but are generally in fairly poor condition these days, especially the galley areas in the 1st class area and the toilets. So most of this order will presumably (hopefully?) end up on these services. Doubling their length on some departures would help the crowding problems they seem to have. Although most of the trains to London are Siemens, these were late and there will be clear political pressure to ensure that the new fleet are built by Alstom (presumably would be based on the TGV-M platform that is being prototyped at present). Either way, it will take a few years so bankon the existing Thalys fleet stumbling on for another five years or so (unfortunately…).

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    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    I had thought a short term solution to boost Thalys capacity would be to transfer a couple of the Siemens units (from Eurostar UK). These ought to be able to operate over Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris infrastructure.

    Maybe the remodelling works at Amsterdam Centraal (already reported in Forum) has meant a change of plan ?

    Thalys (now confusingly branded as Eurostar and bookable on Eurostar.com) needs more capacity urgently.

    Just now I checked availability for Amsterdam-Paris and Brussels-Paris for May 17.

    Most Thalys services Amsterdam-Paris were either sold out (reservations for Thalys are mandatory) or priced at £214 or £229 *one-way* in standard class. Business class was priced at £412 one-way.

    Brussels-Paris is a mere 80 mins trip with £95 being the lowest fare one-way. Business class £139.

    Roughly one-third of Brussels-Paris services (and there are many of these) were sold out.

    Thalys holds a monopoly.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    x2000traveller
    Participant

    Yes, in principle both Thalys and Eurostar are one company with a single management.

    And the Siemens sets could operate from Amsterdam to Paris via Brussels, once the crews have been trained.

    But the Siemens fleet is already heavily used as the post-Covid world has brought Eurostar traffic back and then some (one only has to look at the fares for bookings a few days ahead to see what the effect of this has been). Plus the fleet was never timetabled as intensively as the UK norm, so there are long turnrounds and many diagrams which are just simple out and back workings in a day. This helps reliability…. So hard to see their transfer onto the former Thalys routes: one imagines the marketing dept. would be particularly concerned about this showing up just how poor quality the ex-Thalys trains actually are!

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