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Rail alliance aims to compete with airlines

A new rail alliance that will see closer collaboration between Europe's top high speed rail networks says it is planning to compete with Europe's airlines.

Eurostar UK, Deutsche Bahn, SNCF and SNCB are among seven companies who will be working together to cut the journey times of trains and market them as a greener and easier alternative to flying.

The alliance will make it possible for travellers buying tickets to destinations in Europe to approach the continent's high speed rail network as if it were an integrated whole.

It will also mean that, where passengers miss connections because of the late running of a service, they will be able to board the next train regardless of which ticket they hold.

In addition new information centres will be installed in high speed hubs including Brussels, Cologne, Lille, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris.

Eurostar chief executive Richard Brown 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.

"High-speed rail represents the future of sustainable, comfortable travel across Europe."

He added that UK travellers will benefit from the fact that English will be one of the languages spoken on board trains and used at interconnecting hubs.

Over 100 destinations in western Europe are connected across 5,000 kilometres of high speed track.

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