Thalys

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Thalys
Thalys Logo.svg
Thalys trains.JPG
Overview
Franchise(s): International joint operation
service began 1996
Main stations(s): Paris Nord,
Bruxelles Midi/Brussel Zuid,
Köln Hauptbahnhof,
Amsterdam Centraal
Other stations(s): Antwerpen-Centraal, Brugge, Charleroi-Sud, Gent-Sint-Pieters, Liège-Guillemins, Mons, Namur, Oostende, Aachen Hauptbahnhof, Albertville, Bourg-St-Maurice, Lille Europe, Moûtiers, Chambéry-Challes-les-Eaux, Schiphol, Rotterdam Centraal
Fleet size: 9[1] Thalys PBA sets
17 Thalys PBKA sets
Stations called at: 26
Parent company: SNCF, NMBS/SNCB, Deutsche Bahn
Web site: www.thalys.com
Thalys route map
Amsterdam Centraal Deutsche Bahn Pictograms-nps-misc-metro station.svg Amsterdam
Schiphol Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Rotterdam Centraal Pictograms-nps-misc-metro station.svg Rotterdam
Netherlands–Belgium border
Essen Hbf Deutsche Bahn Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn Rhine-Ruhr Stadtbahn Essen
Duisburg Hbf Deutsche Bahn Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn Rhine-Ruhr Stadtbahn Duisburg
Düsseldorf Airport Düsseldorf Airport Deutsche Bahn Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn
Düsseldorf Hbf Deutsche Bahn Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn Düsseldorf Stadtbahn Düsseldorf
Köln Hbf Deutsche Bahn Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn Cologne Stadtbahn Cologne
Aachen Hbf Deutsche Bahn Aachen
Germany–Belgium border
Antwerpen Centraal Antwerp
Oostende Ostend
Brugge Bruges
Gent Sint Pieters Ghent
Liège Guillemins Deutsche Bahn Liège
Brussels National Airport Brussels Airport
Bruxelles Midi/Brussel Zuid Deutsche Bahn SNCF Brussels Metro Brussels
Namur Namur
Charleroi Sud Charleroi
Mons Mons
Belgium–France border
Lille Europe SNCF Lille
Paris Nord SNCF Paris Métro Réseau express régional Transilien Paris
Thalys Neige winter service
Chambéry Challes-les-Eaux SNCF
Albertville SNCF Albertville
Moûtiers Salins-Brides-les-Bains SNCF
Aime-La Plagne SNCF
Landry SNCF Landry
Bourg-Saint-Maurice SNCF
Thalys Soleil summer service
Valence TGV SNCF Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles
Avignon TGV Deutsche Bahn SNCF Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles
Aix-en-Provence TGV Deutsche Bahn SNCF Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles
Marseille Saint-Charles Deutsche Bahn SNCF Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles

Thalys is an international high-speed train operator originally built around the LGV Nord high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. This track is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris or Brussels to London via Lille and the Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV trains. Thalys reaches Amsterdam and Cologne, and its system is operated by Thalys International. Its capital is divided up between SNCF (60%), NMBS/SNCB (40%).[2]

History[edit]

The decision to build a high-speed railway between Paris, Brussels, Cologne and Amsterdam was made in 1987. On 28 January 1993,[3] SNCF, NMBS/SNCB,[4] Nederlandse Spoorwegen and Deutsche Bahn (then still Deutsche Bundesbahn) signed an agreement to jointly operate the axis through the brand Thalys, and in 1995 Westrail International was created by the French and Belgium national railways to operate the services. On 4 June 1996 the first train left Paris using the LGV Nord until Belgium, taking 2:07 hours to Brussels and 4:47 hours to Amsterdam.[5]

In 1997, the Belgian HSL 1 line, allowing 300 km/h and running from the French border to the outskirts of Brussels, was ready for service. On 14 December 1997 the first Thalys train from Paris to Brussels ran on the HSL 1, reduced travel time to 1:25 hours. At the same time service commenced to Cologne and Aachen in Germany, and Bruges, Charleroi, Ghent, Mons, Namur and Ostend in Belgium. On 19 December 1998 the Thalys Neige service started to the ski resorts of Tarentaise Valley and Bourg St. Maurice. In May 1999, the new high-speed line serving Charles de Gaulle Airport opened, and Thalys started direct services from the Airport to Brussels, including code sharing agreements with Air France, American Airlines and Northwest Airlines. On 28 November 1999, the company changed its name to Thalys International.

In 2000, Thalys Soleil started offering direct connections to the Provence; initially to Valence, and extended to Avignon and Marseille in 2002. Service between Brussels and Cologne was improved in December 2002 when trains began running on the new HSL 2 in Belgium. In 2003, services started to Brussels International Airport and the Thalys Nuits d’Eté service to Marne-la-Vallée. Deutsche Bahn purchased 10% of the company in 2007.[5]

Beginning 14 June 2009 the journey between Brussels and Cologne was shortened by 19 minutes when the new high speed line HSL 3 between Liège and Aachen opened using Deutsche Bahn's thrice-daily ICE trains running between Brussels and Frankfurt. HSL 3 was completed in 2007, but Thalys trains had not yet been equipped with the ETCS signalling equipment necessary to use the new line. After installation and testing, Thalys began operating on HSL 3 on 13 December 2009. For the same reasons, Thalys started operating on the HSL 4/HSL-Zuid high-speed line between Antwerp and Amsterdam 13 December 2009, two years after the line's construction.

Since 29 August 2011, one return journey to Cologne has been extended to Essen Hauptbahnhof,[6] and since 30 October 2011, one return journey to Brussels had been extended to Brussels National Airport.[7]

Düsseldorf Airport station is served since winter 2013 service.[8]

On 12 April 2014, Thalys started a regular service between Lille Europe and Amsterdam Centraal.

Before Thalys, there was already a privileged connection since 1924 between Paris and Brussels, with train service l'Etoile du Nord. It connected the two cities in around 2h30 in the 1970s.

Routes[edit]

Beyond Brussels, the main cities Thalys trains reach are Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Liège, Bruges, Ghent, Charleroi, Aachen and Cologne. Trains to these destinations run partly on dedicated high-speed tracks, and partly on conventional tracks shared with normal-speed trains. The high-speed lines used by Thalys are HSL 1 between Paris and Brussels, HSL 4/HSL-Zuid between Antwerp and Amsterdam, and the HSL 2 and HSL 3 between Brussels and Aachen. For its seasonal operations within France, other high-speed lines are used.

Plans to continue the line past Cologne to Frankfurt had to be abandoned because the Thalys train sets are very inefficient under Germany's 15 kV electric system and thus unable to operate at full speed on the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed rail line.[9]

Journeys from Brussels (Brussels-South) to Paris (Gare du Nord) are normally 1 hour, 22 minutes, for a distance of approximately 300 kilometres (190 mi). Peak speed is 300 km/h (186 mph) on a dedicated high-speed railway track.

The ligne à grande vitesse (LGV) link with Charles de Gaulle Airport allowed Air France to withdraw its air service between Paris and Brussels; instead, Air France books seats on Thalys trains.[10] Thalys has been given the IATA designator 2H. This is used in conjunction with American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. American Airlines has a code sharing agreement with Thalys for rail service from Charles de Gaulle airport to Brussels-South. The airline alliance SkyTeam also has a code sharing agreement with Thalys for rail service connecting its hub Amsterdam Schiphol Airport with Antwerp-Centraal and Bruxelles Midi/Brussel Zuid. Indian carrier Jet Airways has formed a codeshare agreement with the Thalys rail service between Brussels and Paris.[11]

Market[edit]

Thalys targets a passenger market in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

The percentage of income coming from different routes[12] demonstrates on which routes the company is most used:

  • Paris-Brussels: 55.6%
  • Paris-Belgium (outside Brussels): 8.9%
  • Paris-Belgium-Netherlands: 21.3%
  • Paris-Belgium-Germany: 11.8%
  • Others: 2.4%

52% of customers are from the leisure market; 48% from the business market.

A large segment of Thalys's total sales and income comes from the connection between Paris and Brussels.

Unlike many national train companies, Thalys does not allow children below 12 years old to travel alone. This has been interpreted as a way to rise profits, according categories of users impacted by this measure.[13]

Since 24 August 2010, there is a supplement of €7 to Thalys (as well as other international high speed tickets) tickets bought at NMBS/SNCB ticket offices at train stations. This is due to a reduction of a sales fee paid by Thalys and Eurostar to the Belgian rail company.[14]

Thalys yearly passengers and revenue
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Passengers 4,72[15] 4,98[16] 5,5[17] 5,8[18] 6,0[19] 5,8[20] 5,95[21] 6,15[22] 6,5[23] 6,2[24] 6,5[25] 6,07[26] 6,45[26] 6,65[27] 6,60[28] 6,69[29]
Revenue 60[30] 115[31] 190 220 266 294 310 301 318 335 363 364 392 382 432 470 479 487[32]

All figures in millions. Revenue in millions of euro.

Accessibility[edit]

Thalys trains are wheelchair-accessible, with assistance of the train staff. Bicycles are not allowed on Thalys, unless disassembled or packed in special wrap. Folding bikes are allowed.[33]

Rolling stock[edit]

Thalys uses two models of trains, both of which are part of the TGV (train à grande vitesse) family of high-speed trains built by Alstom in France.

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Built   Notes 
 mph   km/h 
PBA Thalys PBA redesign.jpg Electric multiple unit 186 300[34] 9[1] 1996 Tri-current; Operates only on the Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam route.
PBKA Thalys PBKA Refurbished Nederland.jpg Electric multiple unit 186 300 17 1997 Quadri-current; Operates on Paris-Brussels-Cologne-Amsterdam route.

Accidents and Incidents[edit]

Thalys PBKA at Köln Messe/Deutz station with an Essen-bound train
Further information: TGV accidents
  • On 9 May 1998 a truck was struck by a Thalys PBKA on an unprotected level crossing; it had attempted to cross the tracks at the crossing when the train arrived. The truck driver was killed in the impact and the train's power unit and first two trailers derailed; the trainset was left heavily damaged. Six passengers were injured and tracks and catenary were broken in the incident. Trailers R1 and R2 had to be scrapped. The trainset was later repaired with the R1 and R2 trailers from a regular TGV trainset.
  • On 11 October 2008 a Thalys PBA set bound for Amsterdam collided with a local ICM train set at Gouda railway station in the Netherlands. The Thalys train set had been diverted via Gouda due to engineering work on its usual route. None of the passengers was seriously injured, but both trains incurred serious damage. An investigation concluded that staff of the local ICM was to blame as they left the platform whilst still under a red signal.[35][36]

See also[edit]

A Thalys PBA and PBKA coupled in Paris Nord
Hergé Thalys

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Thalys: Key figures". Thalys. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  2. ^ thalys.com. "corporate". Thalys. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  3. ^ Thalys. "1976–1995 The train: economic development drive". Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  4. ^ thalys.com. "corporate". Thalys. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  5. ^ a b Thalys. "History". Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  6. ^ Hermsen, Stephan (22 December 2010). "Thalys verbindet das Ruhrgebiet mit Paris" [Thalys connects the Ruhr area with Paris]. DerWesten (in German) (Essen). 
  7. ^ Belga (14 September 2011). "Brussels Airport à 1h47 de Paris via Thalys" [Brussels Airport 1h47 away from Paris with Thalys]. La Libre Belgique (in French) (Brussels). 
  8. ^ 2013 Thalys winter schedule
  9. ^ Alain Jeunesse and Michel Rollin (March 2004). "La motorisation du TGV POS" (in French). Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  10. ^ United States Government Accountability Office (1994). Intermodal Transportation. DIANE Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 1-4289-3337-9. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ thalys.com. "Chiffres Clés". Thalys. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  13. ^ "Les enfants interdits de Thalys - Autonomie, indépendance des enfants - FORUM Famille". Forum.doctissimo.fr. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  14. ^ F.C. (2010-08-24). "Thalys et Eurostar économisent sur le dos de la SNCB". Lalibre.be. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  15. ^ Unknown (20 January 1999). "Thalys trook 57 procent meer treinreizigers in 1998; NMBS: Internationaal treinverkeer zit duidelijk in de lift.". De Financieel-Economische Tijd. p. 26. 
  16. ^ Unknown (8 February 2000). "Thalys vervoert bijna 5 miljoen passagiers". NRC Handelsblad. p. 15. 
  17. ^ Unknown (10 January 2001). "Opnieuw goed jaar voor Thalys". De Financieel-Economische Tijd. p. 9. 
  18. ^ Van der Heide, Lolke (27 July 2002). "Vliegen zonder vleugels ; Hogesnelheidstrein komt nog niet los van strijd om nationaal belang". NRC Handelsblad. p. 11. 
  19. ^ Unknown (6 January 2003). "Thalys: zes miljoen passagiers in 2002". Nieuws.nl. 
  20. ^ Unknown (16 January 2004). "Thalys vervoert minder passagiers". BN/De Stem. 
  21. ^ Unknown (20 January 2005). "Recordjaar voor Thalys". Rotterdams Dagblad (Rotterdam). p. 716. 
  22. ^ Unknown (3 January 2006). "Kort Nieuws". AD/Algemeen Dagblad. p. 15. 
  23. ^ Unknown (10 January 2007). "6,5 miljoen reizigers voor Thalys". De Tijd. p. 4. 
  24. ^ Unknown (16 January 2008). "Thalys verliest reizigers maar behoudt omzet". De Tijd. p. 6. 
  25. ^ "Thalys.com 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  26. ^ a b ANP. "Volkskrant (2011)". Volkskrant.nl. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  27. ^ "Press release Thalys" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  28. ^ "Press release Thalys" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  29. ^ "Persbericht resultaten 2013, Rotterdam 17 februari 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  30. ^ Botman, Hans (27 maart 1999). "Thalys raast door". Algemeen Dagblad. p. 49. 
  31. ^ Van Gelder, Harry (26 maart 1999). "Belgen, Fransen, Duitsers en Nederlanders exploiteren hogesnelheidslijn liever samen ; Europese spoorbedrijven verwerpen concurrentie". De Volkskrant (Brussels). p. 2. 
  32. ^ "Treinreiziger.nl, 17 februari 2014". Treinreiziger.nl. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  33. ^ "Thalys Trains, European Trains". Rail Europe. Retrieved 2014-06-02. 
  34. ^ "Railway Gazette: Manufacturers must share the risk". Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  35. ^ nu.nl. "Accident". Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  36. ^ IVW.nl. "Rapport". Retrieved 2009-05-18. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Brunhouse, Jay (1999). Traveling Europe's Trains. Pelican Publishing Company. ISBN 1-56554-854-X. 
  • Solomon, Brian (2001). Bullet trains. MBI Publishing Company. ISBN 0-7603-0768-7. 
  • International railway journal (2003). A star is born: International railway journal. Simmons-Boardman Pub. Corp.