Sir Richard Branson wants to challenge EurostarBack to Forum
News posted today by Daily Telegraph. [paywall]
As with ‘paper’ airlines there have been several challenges to Eurostar over the years but all, so far, have either failed or have yet to get off the ground.
We have repoorted many times of the difficulties which any new operator would face if it wishes to operate through the Tunnel.
Recently we reported on Spain’s Renfe.
Later I started a Forum thread re Evolyn.
As many of you know I have been following Eurostar since before 1994 and I wonder how many people today can remember the time when Virgin Group had a minor shareholding in LCR (in the days when EPS ran Eurostar) ?
See Marketing Week dated 1996.11 Nov 2023
No paywall for Kentonline.co.uk
Residents in this area are unhappy as Eurostar said recently the train firm had no plans to serve Kent until 2025 at least.12 Nov 2023
That is good enough a reason for anybody to set up a rivalling service to Eurostar.
However, I am very sceptical about Richard Branson. He is one to set up a Virgin service then bail out after two years so that he can keep raking in a charge for his licensee while reducing his shareholding and thus run little real risk.12 Nov 2023
Fantastic news. Whatever this achieves I imagine Eurostars monopoly days are closer to coming to an end, whether it’s Virgin or someone else, it seems several potential challengers are vying for HS1 access. The Branson bashing above, Virgin’s DNA has always been focused on franchising the brand and having Branson drive marketing and buzz, the previous Virgin Trains seemed to coincide with increased ridership and satisfaction with the West Coast Mainline, Virgin Atlantic whilst a niche operator has survived when many others of similar scale have not, and Virgin Galactic the latest out of this world offering is pushing boundaries, I’m all for sprinkling a little fairy dust on a sector to inspire others, and Branson is just that, a disruptor, go on and disrupt!
1 user thanked author for this post.12 Nov 2023
he does have somewhat of a track record of stirring things up for marketing effect. But yes would be great news. Any serious competition on this route would be welcome. and for all its detractors, the west coast line was far better when he left it than when we arrived.13 Nov 2023