High speed train companies Eurostar and Thalys planning merger
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    High speed train companies Eurostar and Thalys planning merger

    The project could be finished in the next two years, according to the president of the French railway company SNCF. Credit: Flickr

    The stakeholders of Eurostar and Thalys, among who is the Belgian railway company NMBS/SNCB, are looking to bring the two operators together.

    “The project to combine both companies will have to be worked out in the coming months,” said Bart Crols, the SNCB spokesperson, in VRT NWS

    The plan for the merger was revealed on Friday to several boards of directors and stakeholders. The project could be finished in the next two years, according to Guillaume Pepy, president of the French railway company SNCF.

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    The goal of the united company would be to transport around 30 million travellers per year by 2030. “Sustainable high-speed transit in Europe has a promising future,” said Crols from SNCB. “By bringing both train companies together, there could be a big growth in the coming years. Both companies can profit from each other’s knowledge,” he added.

    The project still has to be precisely defined and subjected to various approvals, among which the European Commission’s. Despite the uncertainty, SNCB confirms that it will stay a stakeholder in this new combination.

    Thalys and Eurostar both serve five countries at the moment: France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. SNCB holds 40% of the stakes in Thalys, and 5% in Eurostar. The French railway company SNCF holds the majority of the stakes in both.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times