Eurostar may get low-cost rival

New low-cost trains could start services through the Channel Tunnel after operator GetLink (the new name for EuroTunnel) paid for a study to see if they could be viable.

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GetLink chief executive Jacques Gounon told French paper the Journal du Dimanche “the rail market is ready for cheap and premium offers to coexist” and opening the link to low-cost trains could see a “58% increase in the number of people using the Channel Tunnel”.

No interested operator has so far come forward but Eurostar, which runs the present services, has ruled itself out. Spokeswoman Bérénice Decharn­eux said it read speculation “with interest” but had no plans for such a service.

The tunnel is under-utilised and the study said a low-cost model like SNCF’s Ouigo or the Thalys Izy could link to peripheral stations, use older rail lines to give a three-hour service at 25-30% less than the present 2hr 20min London-Paris link.

GetLink lists ‘new destinations and low-cost carriers’ in its June 2018 report to investors.