Eurostar unveils new rail alliance with European high-speed train operators, Thalys and Deutsche Bahn’s ICE

5 Apr 2005
  • New Fares to Cologne and Aachen from London/Ashford
  • City-centre to city-centre in 5 hours with change in Brussels

Eurostar, the international fast train operator which links the UK with France and Belgium, today unveiled a unique alliance with two other European high-speed train operators - Thalys of Belgium and Deutsche Bahn's ICE – to enable customers to travel quickly and easily from the UK to Germany, via a simple connection in Brussels.
The alliance means that passengers can now travel between London and Cologne or Aachen by paying only one fare. The new fares start at £69 return and are on sale from today. Easy connections also mean that passengers don't have to wait very long when interchanging at Brussels.
The new offer is by Eurostar to Brussels Midi, with a simple connection to Aachen or Cologne via the high-speed Thalys or ICE services. The fastest journey times are 4h23 mins to Aachen and 5h02 mins to Cologne (each one hour less from Ashford International). Tickets include the opportunity for passengers to stay up to 24 hours in Brussels before continuing their journey.
Both these attractive cities in Germany's northern Rhineland of Wesphalia are ideal for UK holidaymakers wanting a short break or longer holiday. The tickets can be booked through Eurostar's Contact Centre on 08705 186 186*, or in person at Waterloo or Ashford International terminals.
Eurostar's Director of Communications. Paul Charles, commented: "This is a major European high-speed rail alliance, benefiting passengers in the UK and Germany. Connections are becoming easier and easier thanks to high-speed links across Europe, enabling passengers to travel as quickly by high-speed rail as they do by trekking out to an airport, checking in a long time before their flight and waiting for baggage on arrival. High-speed rail operators are now a major alternative to short-haul flights. We hope to extend our range of German connection destinations during 2005."
* A £5 booking fee is charged through the Eurostar Contact Centre. Bookings can be made between 09h00 and 17h00.
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Editor's Notes:-
EUROSTAR1. Eurostar is the fast train service linking London, Ashford, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Avignon, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris and the French Alps.
2. Eurostar has direct services to the following destinations; Paris, Brussels, Lille, Disneyland Resort Paris, Calais Frethun and during the winter ski season the French Alps and during the summer Avignon.
3. Eurostar was named "Train Operator of the Year" at the National Rail Awards 2004; "World's Leading Rail Service" in the 2003 and 2004 World Travel Awards; "Best Rail Network" at the Business Travel World Awards 2004 and "Best Rail Operator" at the Travel Weekly Globe Awards 2004.
4. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are two entirely different companies with two different management teams. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's largest customer.
5. To book tickets for other Eurostar destinations, or to find out more information, go to www.eurostar.com , call 08705 186186 or contact your travel agent.
For more information on Eurostar: Eurostar Press Office, +44 (0)20 7922 4494, press.office@eurostar.co.uk
THALYSThalys is the unique European high-speed network connecting daily 4 countries: France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Every day, 30 trains run between Paris Ile-de-France and Brussels, 6 between Paris, Aachen and Köln, 5 between Paris and Amsterdam.
In 2004, Thalys transported 5,95 million passengers, and realized a turnover equal to 318 million euros with an increase of 5.6 % versus 2003. Thalys' travel concept aims to provide its passengers the best services while combining speed, frequency, comfort, security and accessibility. Thalys also takes into consideration the complete journey of the passenger, and develops accordingly partnerships (public transportation, taxi companies, rental cars, hotel chains, etc.) in order to easier access to trains, and the trip as a whole.
For any further information on Thalys please visit our site at www.thalys.com or contact the Thalys Presse Office, +32 (0)2 504 05 99 - press@thalys.com
DEUTSCHE BAHN'S ICEDeutsche Bahn (DB) is the leading transport and logistic service provider in Europe. Last year 4.6 million people travelled by DB every day.
The ICE (InterCityExpress) train is Deutsche Bahn's flagship and sets high standards in design, comfort and speed. DB's train of the future on domestic and international services is the ICE 3. First class passengers can sit in a lounge directly behind the driver, from where they can enjoy a view right through the cockpit onto the track ahead.
In addition to the international rail links from London to Germany's cities of Aachen and Cologne by Eurostar and ICE there are connections at Brussels to Bremen/Hamburg or Hanover/Wolfsburg/Berlin and at Paris to Munich by DB NachtZug (Night train).
For rail bookings or further information please call the Deutsche Bahn UK Booking Centre from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on 08702 43 53 63 (national rates apply). Timetable information is also available on our web site at www.bahn.co.uk.
For more press information on Deutsche Bahn and the ICE please contact Oliver Ueck tel. 020 8339 4709 - press@bahn.co.uk