European high speed rail operators launch railteam

3 Jul 2007

Railteam makes international travel on high-speed trains to and from Europe easy for UK travellers
Real alternative to air alliances and to travel by car
By 2010, 25 million international travellers on European high-speed rail network
Brussels, 2 July 2007 - Seven European high speed train operators Eurostar UK, Deutsche Bahn, SNCF, SNCB, NS Hispeed, ÖBB, SBB and subsidiaries Thalys, Lyria and Alleo today announced the start of Railteam – its purpose to give travellers seamless high-speed train travel across international borders in Western Europe.
With UK demand for international rail travel to destinations beyond Paris and Brussels soaring (in the first quarter of 2007 Eurostar saw an exceptional 39% growth in 'connecting' ticket sales - combining travel on Eurostar and the French TGV service – to destinations such as Nice, Marseilles and Avignon) Railteam will help improve UK traveller choice and experience.
With UK demand for international rail travel to destinations beyond Paris and Brussels soaring (in the first quarter of 2007 Eurostar saw an exceptional 39% growth in 'connecting' ticket sales - combining travel on Eurostar and the French TGV service – to destinations such as Nice, Marseilles and Avignon) Railteam will help improve UK traveller choice and experience.The Western European high speed rail network already links to over 100 major urban destinations in Europe via over 5,000km of track. The network will stretch to 7,591km by 2010 and to 15,358km by 2020. However, despite the size and continuing growth of the high speed rail network, many international travellers remain unaware of the benefits of taking high speed rail.
Railteam is about easy, faster, seamless journeys. From today, if for any reason, a traveller misses their connection because of a late running service, Railteam will ensure they can hop on the next train, irrespective of the ticket type they have.
Multi-lingual information onboard trains and in stations will ensure international travellers know where, when and how to connect onto other services.
Railteam information points will be installed in the five main hubs (Brussels, Cologne, Lille, Frankfurt and Stuttgart), and in the coming months, at other major stations such as London, Strasbourg, Amsterdam and in the main high-speed train stations in Paris.
To reduce transit times for travellers, Railteam partners will also better coordinate connecting departure and arrival times.
Railteam members are investing 30 million euro (£20 million) in a new distribution system that will allow international travellers to find an attractive combination of prices, make a reservation, pay, and receive their ticket from any distributor of European rail in one transaction. The new system will go live in 2009.
Frequent business travellers and those in the top tier of a Railteam member's frequent traveller programme will have some benefits extended such as access to over 30 business lounges across Europe. In a later phase, 'trainmiles' programmes will be expanded across the entire Railteam network.
Railteam also will seek to introduce new innovations as technologies develop over forthcoming years such as text messaging about timetables and service disruptions.
With travel on high-speed trains becoming easier and smoother, increasing numbers of travellers will opt for environmentally friendly high speed train travel within Europe. High speed rail journeys release significantly less carbon dioxide than flying to the same destinations.
Extensive research has shown that business travellers are willing to travel up to four hours on rail because of the increased productivity versus the airlines, whilst leisure travellers are prepared to enjoy longer journeys of around 6 hours.
By 2010, the Railteam members expect 25 million international travellers to be using their European high-speed rail network.
Richard Brown, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said: "Eurostar is already seeing UK travellers moving to rail from air because of their concerns about climate change and recent problems at UK airports. We see Railteam as a further catalyst for change. For the first time ever we can now promote and sell Europe's high speed rail network as an integrated whole. One key advantage for UK travellers is that English will be one of the languages spoken on board trains and used at interconnecting hubs.
"High-speed rail represents the future of sustainable, comfortable travel across Europe."
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Note to the editorsRailteam is a co-operation between Europe's leading high-speed rail operators, currently Deutsche Bahn (Germany), SNCF (France), Eurostar (UK, France and Belgium), NS Hispeed (Netherlands), ÖBB (Austria), SBB (Switzerland) and SNCB (Belgium), as well as three of their high-speed subsidiaries Thalys, Lyria and Alleo.
Railteam's aim is to offer a much simpler way to book and travel on Europe's high-speed network.
The signing of the Railteam contract involves a contractual cooperation treaty. The partners engage themselves in creating a joint legal structure to lead this collaboration. Railteam BV's structure, situated in Amsterdam, will remain light and will be administrated by 3 persons: one representative of SNCF, one representative of DB and one representative who will be nominated on a rotating basis. These 3 representatives will be detached but will be working from their own registered office.
For more information, visit www.railteam.eu