Skyscraper City Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Moderator
Joined
·
35,453 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'Single' euro train fare planned
By Alex Ritson
Europe business reporter, BBC News


Eurostar train
Eurostar is one of the operators in the new Railteam alliance
Some of Europe's biggest train companies are teaming up to compete directly with airlines.

Railteam is an alliance of nine high-speed train companies across seven European countries.

Eurostar, Germany's Deutsche Bahn and France's SNCF as well as the Dutch, Austrian, Swiss and Belgian rail operators have signed up to the scheme.

They claim they will offer the best possible price available at the time you buy.

They will also recognise each other's customer loyalty schemes and, in future years, will try to co-ordinate their timetables.

Trains take on planes

Up to now, airlines have had one big advantage over railway companies when they operate on international routes.

They sell you a ticket all the way to your destination - even if you have to change planes.

Europe's railway tracks may all join up - but up to now, the ticketing arrangements haven't.

Now, bosses of some the fastest train services in Europe have decided they're going to change that.


European speed trains run at 320 kmph (198mph) and that makes railways perfectly competitive with airlines
Guillaume Pepy, French railway network SNCF

Attending the launch in Brussels were the chief executives of Eurostar, Deutsche Bahn, SNCF, SNCB - the Belgian operator - , Holland's NS Hispeed, Austrian network ÖBB, Switzerland's SBB and subsidiaries Thalys, Lyria and Alleo.

Between them they link more than 100 major towns and cities in western Europe with more than 5,000 kilometres of high speed rail track.

Growing membership

Bookings can be made in all the usual ways offered by each train company: at offices, over the telephone and through the internet, hopefully defeating language barriers.

So far, the network links seven countries, but the alliance is hopeful other rail companies in Europe will apply for membership of this new club.

"Why would we want to keep them out?" asks Richard Brown, Eurostar chief executive.

"As long as their trains are fast enough and they meet our standards of service, it's in our interest for them to join".

The Railteam partnership between the continent's high-speed operators draws much of its inspiration from the alliances between different airline groups.

Crowds at Heathrow after last summer's major terrorist alert
Security fears add to the hassle of air travel

If one operator doesn't serve a particular destination at the time a passenger wants to travel, it will try to complete the journey using the services of its partners.

If a train is late and a passenger misses their connection, tickets will be valid on the services of other Railteam partners serving the same route.

Best fare

For regular travellers who enrol in loyalty programmes there are more than 30 business lounges to make waiting for a train more enjoyable.

Guillaume Pepy, the chief executive of the French railway network SNCF, believes the Railteam network will tempt as many as 10 million new passengers away from airlines and onto the rails.

"European speed trains run at 320 kmph (198.7mph) and that makes railways perfectly competitive with airlines, especially when you consider that we travel from city centre to city centre.

"Now we have interconnected the sales system so that you will be able to get the best available fare no matter where you are living."


If you see how easy it is to travel by train and how difficult it is to travel by plane, they clearly have an advantage
Cathy Buyck, editor of Air Transport World Magazine

Whether the airlines will regard their ground-based rivals as true competitors remains to be seen, but industry watchers say they should take the threat seriously.

True competitors?

Cathy Buyck, editor of Air Transport World Magazine, says security fears are another factor which could drive passengers away from airports.

"If you see how easy it is to travel by train and how difficult it is to travel by plane, they clearly have an advantage. You simply pack up your suitcase and you take your train at the station and you go.

"I think the hassle factor of travelling by train these days is a very big difference."

Another issue of the moment that could work in the railway's favour is climate change.

With Governments increasingly keen to do all they can to show their green credentials, the Railteam group are keen to point out that rail travel emits on average a tenth of the carbon dioxide emissions of flying.

Cross-channel train operator Eurostar has already said it will become carbon neutral and offset any emissions it cannot eliminate.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
35,453 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
this wont of course apply with british companies who are not bothering with it. something to do with this which apparnelty breaks conditions of carriage in the uk. here you no longer buy a ticket to a destination but instead buy a route which cannot go in the opposite direction on a particuarl to the way you are travelling -
"If one operator doesn't serve a particular destination at the time a passenger wants to travel, it will try to complete the journey using the services of its partners.

If a train is late and a passenger misses their connection, tickets will be valid on the services of other Railteam partners serving the same route."

for example lincoln to kings lynn is actually quicker via london which involves going south then north than taking various rural connections to get there. this is not a valid route in the uk anymore. lincoln to london via retford is not valid either as london is south of lincoln and retford is north by four miles (although retford is a feeder station with a stop specifically to service lincolnshire)
 

·
Tax avoider
Joined
·
24,168 Posts
If I was travelling from any UK city outside of London, to anywhere in Europe. I would still fly.
My mate's house in Leicester to Calais?

0:10 in taxi to station.
0:10 wait.
1:15 by Midland Mainline to London St. Pancras International
1:00 check-in and wait.
1:00 by Eurostar to Calais Frethun.
0:20 by taxi to destination.

3:55 start to finish.

The best options by air seem to be Leeds/Bradford to Lille, or East Midlands to Brussels, both of which involve a lengthy transfer at one or both ends. Want a race? :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,760 Posts
My mate's house in Leicester to Calais?

0:10 in taxi to station.
0:10 wait.
1:15 by Midland Mainline to London St. Pancras International
1:00 check-in and wait.
1:00 by Eurostar to Calais Frethun.
0:20 by taxi to destination.

3:55 start to finish.

The best options by air seem to be Leeds/Bradford to Lille, or East Midlands to Brussels, both of which involve a lengthy transfer at one or both ends. Want a race? :)
Hasn't topgear convinced you all yet that so long as you have a sports car its quicker to drive almost anywhere in Europe? :D
 
G

·
If I was travelling from any UK city outside of London, to anywhere in Europe. I would still fly.
Flew from Newcastle to Paris and back for about £85, about 90 minutes there and 70 minutes back. Having said that you've got the check in times which close about 40 minutes before take off iirc. Getting to the airport is just as quick (if not quicker) for me then getting to Newcastle Central.

The full opening of HS1 will make international train travel a bit more attractive as it will eliminate the need to cross London. All depends on the price though, got quoted about £118 retrun by Eurostar for a London to Paris journey recently but then you've got to add on the GNER fare aswell.

HS2 is desperatley needed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
740 Posts
I feel it would make long distance train travel more attractive.

Looking at the diagram that was in this evenings London Lite i would certainly consider using the service if i wanted a leisurely journey to Barcelona or the like. And it looks like the Spanish and Italian high speed services want to join too.
 

·
ISAO OKANO
Joined
·
4,584 Posts
According to soem website I read you can (or could?) buy tickets to "London International" which mean you can travel at peak times at off peak rates if needed to catch your eurostar and take the next eurostar if it runs late. You have to buy them at station though and they arent advertised.
 

·
Gotta lite?
Joined
·
6,078 Posts
I won't hold my breath. Sorry, but I am constantly disappointed by any of these attempts to open up inter-Europe rail lines.

A couple of months ago there were broad banners all over Frankfurt's Hauptbahnhof advertising Frankfurt to Paris for €29 each way. All the newspapers around Europe wrote of the first departure of this new service.

What service? I have yet to find the 3hr 30minute direct service on offer at the DB website. (an example morning here: DB Page

And as for this story. Trying getting an international price on DB.de. except for the odd service most say something like "unkown tarrif abroad" or "total fare cannot be calculated".

I have lost all faith in any further integration with European train services, at least those coming out of Germany. And so I very much doubt this would happen any time soon.

Notice on the article they havn't even suggested a date when it will start, or any website where you can see it in action.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,204 Posts
I won't hold my breath. Sorry, but I am constantly disappointed by any of these attempts to open up inter-Europe rail lines.

[SNIP]

Notice on the article they havn't even suggested a date when it will start, or any website where you can see it in action.
Um - looks like it's actually launched now.

For example, on the Eurostar website I can now by a ticket for tomorrow to go from London to Cologne for £183.50 changing at Brussels. It'll take just over 6 hrs leaving at 8:39 in the morning and arriving at 15:45.
 

·
Gotta lite?
Joined
·
6,078 Posts
Um - looks like it's actually launched now.

For example, on the Eurostar website I can now by a ticket for tomorrow to go from London to Cologne for £183.50 changing at Brussels. It'll take just over 6 hrs leaving at 8:39 in the morning and arriving at 15:45.
Still not as integrated as they say. The DB website has the same service listed. This is not anything new. Even 2 years ago you could check on DB's website for train connections between London and Istanbul.

But still things haven't changed. Depart London Waterloo 8:39, change in Brussels and arrive 6hr 12 min later. Price: "Fares not available", just like 2 years ago.

I also checked the Eurostar website like you did, but although it gives me a price, it doesn't bother to ask about my DB Bahn card, which should give me 50% off at least on the German leg. Yet they claimed in the article that they honour each system's loyalty cards. Also, on the Eurostar site I couldn't book a train to Frankfurt from London ??? Yet the railteam site shows Frankfurt on their map.



As I said, I won't be holding my breath here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,204 Posts
Still not as integrated as they say. The DB website has the same service listed. This is not anything new. Even 2 years ago you could check on DB's website for train connections between London and Istanbul.

But still things haven't changed. Depart London Waterloo 8:39, change in Brussels and arrive 6hr 12 min later. Price: "Fares not available", just like 2 years ago.

I also checked the Eurostar website like you did, but although it gives me a price, it doesn't bother to ask about my DB Bahn card, which should give me 50% off at least on the German leg. Yet they claimed in the article that they honour each system's loyalty cards. Also, on the Eurostar site I couldn't book a train to Frankfurt from London ??? Yet the railteam site shows Frankfurt on their map.

As I said, I won't be holding my breath here.
Give them a chance! They only launched yesterday!

Anyway, the TGV site does have London to Frankfurt listed on their RailEurope UK site (they've probably also got it available on their French site - but I don't speak french). (it's £209 by the way).

They're phasing it all in over the next two years and they say that:

If you are already a top tier frequent traveller member with one of the Railteam partners, some of your benefits will be extended across the whole network.

Notice the 'Some of your benefits' and not 'all of your benefits'.

Anyway, the guy on the BBC said that once it's all setup and running, they'll be able to offer fares comparable to the low cost airlines (he mentioned 25euro fares but didn't say from where to where).

It's just a shame that in the UK to other train companies will not able to join - a single ticket from Manchester to Barcelona would be pretty useful.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top