Evolyn, a prospective high-speed rail competitor to Eurostar, has revealed its plans to launch a new Paris-London line, posing the first significant challenge to Eurostar’s stronghold in the market. On October 11th, the company announced the acquisition of 12 trains from French manufacturer Alstom for its upcoming venture.
With the potential for expansion to 16 trains, Evolyn aims to kickstart operations in 2025, with the full fleet anticipated to be operational by 2026. The company aims to launch a non-stop service between London St Pancras International and Paris Nord initially, with the possibility of incorporating additional stops in northern France in the future.
This would be the first time, after 30 years of Eurostar’s monopoly, that a competitor has entered the market.Evolyn spokesperson
“The acquisition of 12 high-speed, state-of-the-art trains, to be expanded to a minimum of 16 according to our forecasts, is the definitive step in the materialization of Evolyn, a high-speed rail operator that has been under development for three years and that today marks a very important milestone. We know that the governments of the United Kingdom and France welcome a project that will allow their citizens to increase the connection options between the UK and several countries in continental Europe with a green alternative that will also contribute to decarbonization”, said Jorge Cosmen, the CEO of Evolyn.
The Channel Tunnel functions under an “open access” system, ensuring that all rail operators have an equal right to access it when traveling between British and European networks. “We have always believed that additional operators will benefit passengers through increased competition… and will give people greater opportunity to choose a more sustainable way than flying to travel to the Continent”, concessionaire of the Paris-London railway line HS1 Ltd told the Railway Gazette.
Evolyn’s announcement has aslo been received positively received by Getlink, the French operator of the Channel Tunnel infrastructure, which acknowledged the growth potential of the cross-Channel passenger rail market, affirming that the infrastructure is well-equipped to accommodate an increase in rail traffic of almost twice as much the existing traffic level.
Backed by a consortium of both French and British industrial and financial partners, Evolyn is being backed up by investment of £1 billion (approximately €1.16 billion).
While several companies have previously expressed intentions to challenge Eurostar, including Deutsche Bahn, none had successfully emerged as a direct competitor until now.