|Founder||Jamie Andrews, Kate Andrews, Jon Leighton|
Loco2 is an online train travel booking service that provides coverage for approximately 12 countries in Europe. The service is integrated with multiple rail operators, including ATOC in the United Kingdom, SNCF in France, Deutsche Bahn in Germany, and Renfe in Spain. The company sells fares for all major high-speed rail services in Europe, such as TGV, ICE, Eurostar, AVE, Thalys, and Italo. Founded in 2006, Loco2 is headquartered in London. The company's name is both an abbreviation of the phrase "low CO2" as well as a reference to locomotive travel.
A 2014 Business Traveler article about Loco2 noted that booking rail tickets directly through Europe's rail operators often leads to inconsistent user experiences including credit card rejection issues, limited access to discount fares, and complicated navigation experiences. A similar TechCrunch article characterized the booking systems as "fiendishly complex."
Loco2 promotes train travel as a low carbon alternative to air travel, due to rail travel’s ability to reduce a traveler's carbon footprint by up to 90 percent. The company's stated mission is to "make booking a train as easy as booking a flight."
Loco2 was founded in 2006 by Kate Andrews during her final year as an Undergraduate at Sussex University. The goal initially was to launch a low carbon travel company. As the company’s focus moved to European rail specifically, she was joined by her brother Jamie Andrews and Technical Director Jon Leighton, a leading contributor to Ruby on Rails.
From 2011 onwards, Loco2 began to integrate with the booking systems of Europe’s major rail operators, which have been historically isolated not only from one another but also from third party services.
As of 2014, Loco2 is integrated with the following rail operator booking systems in Europe:
In 2014 Loco2 added Vimal Khosla, previously a board member of lastminute.com, to its board.
Fares and booking capabilities
Loco2 acts as an alternative to traditional rail booking systems by aggregating multiple reservation systems into its service, allowing users to search for and book fares across multiple countries within one transaction. Loco2 users can access standard rate fares as well as the discounted fares associated with each operator, such as Renfe's Turista Promo, Deutsche Bahn's London Spezial and Europa Spezial, as well as SNCF's Prems fares and ATOC's range of discounted Advance Fares.
Companies like Loco2 are expected to expand their market share as the European Commission continues efforts to open the European rail market to increased competition. Loco2’s progress takes place against the backdrop of regulatory initiatives such as TAP-TSI.
Call for open data
In a 2011 Wired Magazine article, Loco2's CEO and founder Jamie Andrews called for rail operators to provide "better (and fairer) access to rail data." Andrews argued that a move to standardize data across Europe's different operators would serve to protect passenger rights.
In 2013 the company held a “hack day” at Google Campus in London, showcasing what could be done with open rail data in the UK.
The company has received a total of £1 million  in funding over a number of investment rounds from private angel investors. As part of its investment raising activities the company was featured on the BBC News website in a piece focusing on the "real life Dragons' Den".
- Cross, Tony (7 November 2013), The right track, Condé Nast Traveler, retrieved 21 March 2014
- Collins, Katie (12 November 2013), Loco2.com incorporates pan-European train travel into a single booking, Wired.co.uk, retrieved 21 March 2014
- Let the train take the strain to Spain, A Place in the Sun, 17 February 2014, retrieved 21 March 2014
- Lomas, Nathasha (17 February 2014), Pan-European Rail Travel Booking Service, Loco2, Gets Renfe On Board For Full Spanish Coverage, TechCrunch, retrieved 21 March 2014,
Loco2 exclusively focuses on rail travel, having an eco-travel ethos — its name is shorthand for low CO2
- McWhirter, Alex (2 November 2014), Loco2 to sell Spanish rail tickets, Business Traveler, retrieved 21 March 2014
- Lomas, Natasha (4 November 2014), Pan-European Train Travel To Get Easier As Loco2 Prepares To Hook Into U.K.’s Rail Booking System, TechCrunch, retrieved 21 March 2014,
...having a vested interest in funnelling travellers cash through their own (typically fiendishly complex) booking systems.
- Gregory, Mark (12 November 2013), New pan-European rail booking service launched, BBC News, retrieved 21 March 2014,
Start-up firm Loco2.com is offering the service in an attempt to make cross-border European rail trips cheaper and easier to organise.
- Eco-Travel site Loco2 expands into Spain, Green Entrepreneurship, 18 February 2014, retrieved 21 March 2014,
Taking the train instead of plane can reduce your carbon footprint with as much as 90 percent.
- Andres, Kate (12 November 2013), UK rail on Loco2, Loco2, retrieved 21 March 2014,
This is a huge step towards our goal of making booking a train as easy as booking a flight.
- O'Neill, Sean (15 March 2013), Loco2 brings European rail bookings to UK market, Tnooz, retrieved 21 March 2014
- O'Neil, Sean (14 April 2013), Loco2 powers new Guardian Trains booking tool, tnooz, retrieved 22 March 2014
- Andrews, Kate (15 April 2013), Introducing Guardian Trains – Loco2 partners with the Guardian, Loco2, retrieved 22 March 2014
- Collins, Katie (5 February 2014), Loco2.com adds Spain to its pan-European rail-booking service, Wired.co.uk, retrieved 21 March 2014
- Bryant, Martin (18 February 2014), Loco2 is an increasingly great place to book European train travel, The Next Web, retrieved 21 March 2014
- Andrews, Kate (25 January 2013), London to Berlin by train: How to find a London Spezial ticket, Loco2, retrieved 21 March 2014
- Paris to Turin by train (TGV), loco2, 2014, retrieved 21 March 2014
- Baker, Vicky (30 August 2013), End of the Thomas Cook European 'bible': online alternatives, The Guardian, retrieved 21 March 2014,
Loco2.com, who partner with Guardian Trains, is also riding the same wave; both companies have been able to build their services after the EU took action to allow more competition in the European rail market.
- "European Commission adopts TAP TSI timetable and fare standards". Railway Gazette. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
- Andrews, Jamie (15 June 2011), Opinion: Making the case to open up European rail data, Wired.co.uk, retrieved 21 March 2014,
...to enable better (and fairer) access to rail data
- Andrews, Jamie (29 October 2012), Building apps with rail data, The Guardian, retrieved 21 March 2014
- Humphrey, Andrew (12 February 2013), Angel investors: The real-life Dragons' Den, BBC News, retrieved 21 March 2014,
Jamie Andrews said securing investment via an equity stake was the only way his young company could raise funds