In the world of high-speed rail travel, an era is coming to a close as the iconic Thalys train, which has been connecting Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris for the past 27 years, undergoes a major transformation. As of Sunday, the familiar name “Thalys” will make way for a new identity – “Eurostar,” marking a significant shift in the landscape of European rail travel.
The End of an Era
For nearly three decades, the Thalys train service has been a symbol of efficient, high-speed travel across borders. Its distinctive Bordeaux-red and silver-grey trains have become synonymous with convenience and connectivity between these three major European cities. However, all good things must eventually come to an end, and the Thalys era is no exception.
A Fresh Look, Same Comfort
While the name may change, the essence of the service will remain consistent. The iconic Bordeaux-red and silver-grey trains that travelers have grown accustomed to will continue to operate under the Eurostar banner. This decision is primarily due to the significant cost associated with repainting all the trains in Eurostar’s blue and yellow colors.
The transition from Thalys to Eurostar will be a gradual process. As of September 30, some trains have already started bearing the Eurostar name, and this rebranding will continue over the coming months. By the end of the year, all trains will proudly display the Eurostar logo, signifying a unified and streamlined service.
A Change in Booking and Loyalty
One of the most noticeable changes for passengers will be the shift in booking platforms. Instead of Thalys.com and the Thalys app, travelers will now book their journeys through Eurostar.com. Alongside this change, a joint loyalty program is set to be introduced, offering passengers added incentives and rewards for their loyalty.
Merger: The Driving Force Behind Change
The decision to rebrand the Thalys service as Eurostar is a direct result of the merger between Eurostar and Thalys, which was announced in 2019. This strategic move aimed to provide passengers with a unified service and reduce operating costs for the merged entity. It also aligns with the vision of the French and Belgian railways, both shareholders in Eurostar and Thalys.
Eurostar’s Global Recognition
Another factor contributing to the name change is Eurostar’s broader recognition outside of Europe. While both Thalys and Eurostar are well-known within the continent, Eurostar’s name carries more weight internationally, making it a natural choice for the unified brand.
Reflecting on Thalys
Thalys, a name coined in the mid-1990s when French, Belgian, Dutch, and German railways joined forces, has served as a vital link in high-speed rail connections between Amsterdam, Brussels, Keulen, and Paris. Over the years, it has provided travelers with “reachable luxury” and dynamic, efficient travel.
Looking Ahead with Eurostar
As Thalys gracefully bows out, Eurostar steps into the spotlight as the new face of high-speed rail travel between these European cities. The transition reflects the evolving landscape of European rail travel and the commitment to providing passengers with top-notch service, streamlined booking, and the promise of more exciting journeys in the years to come.
In conclusion, while the Thalys name may be fading into the annals of history, the spirit of efficient, high-speed rail travel is alive and well under the Eurostar brand. Travelers can continue to expect the same level of comfort, convenience, and connectivity they’ve come to appreciate, with a fresh look and a new chapter in the story of European rail travel.