Eurostar could face rival high-speed rail service as Getlink is in talks with Spanish rail firm Renfe
Eurostar could soon face competition from its services, after Channel Tunnel bosses revealed they were in “advanced talks” with rival operators.
Getlink, parent company of Eurotunnel, says it wants other rail operators to launch high-speed services between London and the Continent.
And that could potentially be good news for Kent’s two international resorts.
Eurostar, which is the only company to use the passenger-only train service since its launch in 1994, has not interrupted any of its services at Ashford or Ebbsfleet stations since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
The rail company has been hit hard by the Covid crisis and travel restrictions – seeing the number of trips drop by 95% at its peak and putting its future in doubt.
But while services are now returning, he has already ruled out services stopping at either Kent station until 2023.
Now, however, Getlink says it hopes other companies might sign on to provide additional services.
It charges Eurostar a toll for each passenger using the tunnel – and has been hit hard by the collapse in trade during the pandemic.
According to information published in the French newspaper La Parisien, Getlink plans to acquire 10 trains and lease them to operators competing with Eurostar. One would be the Spanish national rail operator Renfe. It was revealed late last year that he was engaged in talks over a possible service through the tunnel and they have since made progress.
If all goes according to plan, he could consider starting services in 2026.
Jacques Gounon, managing director of Getlink, reportedly said: “I will buy them and then rent them [the trains]. This reduces the issue of fixed costs and the technical barrier.
“Eurostar is very good but it suffers from not having competition.”