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Eurostar Group reveals new brand

From the third quarter of 2023, Thalys trains will be renamed Eurostar and the two companies, which are now owned by the same holding company, will have a single new logo as part of the merger of the two rail operators.

The Thalys trains will disappear from next October in favour of the Eurostar brand, which will bring together under the same banner the trains linking Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne and the transmanche trains. The name Eurostar was retained because it is considered to be better known than its Franco-Belgian counterpart, "particularly among American and Asian customers".

This merger of the brands and the new logo consisting of a six-pointed star in an open circle, which forms an "e", materializes the merger of the two companies which was announced in May 2022. This logo refers to the Etoile du Nord train that linked Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam from 1924 to 1996, but also to the first Eurostar logo. 

We want a unique brand, strong for our customers, which is the symbol of the European network that we want to set up. 

Gwendoline Cazenave, Managing Director, Eurostar Group

The new brand identity has been designed by DesignStudio using a palette of 10 colours, although the Thalys trains will remain red due to the cost of repainting all the trains. These identity changes are also accompanied by a unique website, app, booking system and loyalty programme from October.

The group's ambition is to transport 30 million passengers per year by 2030, bearing in mind that "Thalys has been serving four countries since 1996 and carries 8 million passengers per year. Eurostar also serves four countries but since 1994, with 11 million passengers per year," explains François Le Doze, commercial director of the Eurostar Group.

In order to achieve this objective, Eurostar Group must deal with the problem of reinforced border controls. Indeed, since the Brexit it takes 30% longer to process passengers because of border controls and passport stamping, according to Gwendoline Cazenave.

These processing times mean that the rail operator is currently only selling 550 of the 900 seats on the first trains of the day from London to Paris, Paris to London and London to Brussels. This has had a direct impact on fares, as the company is no longer able to offer the same attractive prices as before.

The Eurostar Group's managing director stresses that they are working closely with French and British customs to find a solution. In addition, she explained that "we need to be better organised, with more police staff, more investment in automated e-gates" but also "add more booths and more e-gates at St Pancras and Gare du Nord - the length of the station needs to be reworked".

Meanwhile, Eurostar has confirmed the launch of a fifth route on the London-Amsterdam line in 2024, while the Thalys fleet is being refurbished. Gwendoline Cazenave said that the current refurbishment would increase the capacity of these trains by 10% and add 30 seats to the existing 300. A new class of travel is also expected to be introduced next year, with no further details from the group at present.

The last major challenge will be to turn the stations into real hubs like the major European airports. To do this, "we will have to coordinate our timetables and make them efficient. The networks must be coherent in the stations. Whether in Paris, Lille, Brussels or London".

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