The intention is that Thalys will eventually also be called Eurostar, just like the trains to London. The merger between the two railway companies was already announced in 2019, but was delayed due to the corona crisis. Because of the virus outbreak and the many travel restrictions, rail carriers had a hard time. As a result, passenger numbers fell drastically. Thalys even had to knock on the door of banks for the first time in the company’s history to secure its future.
The merger project was picked up again in the second half of last year. SNCF was already a major shareholder in Thalys and already controlled Eurostar. The French will be the majority shareholder of the high-speed rail combination, which will have a head office in Brussels. The Belgian rail operator NMBS will acquire an 18.5% stake. Thalys and Eurostar together now have approximately 2300 employees. Added together, they account for an annual turnover of 1.5 billion euros.