The French Eurostar and Belgian Thalys have announced the intention to merge back in 2019, with the move being approved by the European Commission in March last year. At the time, the two companies announced the Thalys brand would be phased out.
During a press conference in Brussels on 24 January, the new Eurostar Group, merging the two rail operators, revealed the new logo and brand under which trains will be running by the end of the year.
This unprecedented merger of international rail operators makes us a bigger player in a bigger playground.Gwendoline Cazenave, CEO Eurostar Group
At the reveal, group CEO Gwendoline Cazenave explained the new logo is inspired by the original train service linking Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, Étoile du Nord, as well as drawing on the first Eurostar logo. “It sees the return of the iconic star (…) and Eurostar’s very first logo”, Cazenave said.
Built on the heritage of both Eurostar and Thalys, the brand identity has been adapted to the digital age. From October 2023, the new logo and overall brand will be deployed on all trains, information points and platforms, in a range of 10 colours, including warmer nuances that match Thalys’ current image.
So excited to be building a new Eurostar, the backbone of sustainable travel across European borders.Gwendoline Cazenave, CEO Eurostar Group
Besides the unified brand, all of the features offered by either operator will also be merged. Thus, as of this year, customers will be offered a single, unified website, booking system and loyalty programme, covering all destinations on the current Eurostar and Thalys networks, making it easier for travellers to seamlessly book direct as well as connecting journeys form London to Cologne and everywhere in between.
“Thinking bigger also means doing more for our customers. No matter which Eurostar city our customers start their journey in, they will live the unique experience they know and love – city centre to city centre, focus time, wi-fi onboard and premium service”, said Cazenave.
Under the merger, the new group plans to double its modal share by 2030, carrying up to 30 million passengers, and to accelerate the transition from air and road transport to high-speed rail. “We knew that the challenge of climate change and the growing demand for eco-responsible and sustainable travel in Europe represented a great opportunity for both companies in terms of long-term development”, added Alain Krakovitch, Director of TGV-Intercités and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Eurostar Group.
Lastly, the Eurostar Group will be headquartered in Brussels, reinforcing the Belgian capital’s role as a hub for rail connectivity and sustainable travel in Europe. “This exciting new phase of rail travel is timely, as it is an indispensable part of achieving of Europe’s sustainability goals”, concluded Sophie Dutordoir, CEO of SNCB/NMBS Belgian Railways.