Eurostar to Finally Get Some Competition

by Alister POOLE on December 29, 2009

Recently Eurostar has been in the news for all of the wrong reasons.  In addition to delays caused by weather for which Eurostar was seemingly unprepared, they still have an unsettled labor issue that could lead to more walkouts like the ones that delayed service recently.  This has added up to a bad year for Eurostar, which has held a monopoly on certain train routes for some time.  This poor year has led to cracks in the Eurostar armor that other carriers hope to take advantage of.  One of these carriers is Veolia Environnement who is currently in talks to start a service to compete with Eurostar.  The service would be the route that runs between London, Paris, and Brussels, a route for which Eurostar currently has a virtual monopoly.

According to sources in Italy, Veolia Environnement will partner with a segment of Italy’s state owned rail company Trenitalia to offer high speed train service from London to Strasbourg, and Paris to Brussels which would open in the year 2012.  This would be a major move against Eurostar, as it currently holds a monopoly on most cross channel service.  Although nothing is yet decided it is known that Veolia was in talks previously to take over this route, so sources within the industry say that their interest is definitely real and should be taken seriously. 

One of the reasons that Eurostar is vulnerable is that Eurotunnel is displeased with Eurostar’s strategy of reducing the number of seats on offer so that they may increase per ticket prices.

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