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Oktoberfest? A game at Westfalendstadion? A night at Berghain? Jump on the train!

Einzelfahrt nach Berlin bitte!

OK, so you probably won’t have to order your tickets in German given that you’ll be picking them up at Kings Cross, but it might be time to start learning the lingo in time for Eurostar’s planned expansion into fresh new European destinations.

A new merger means you could soon jump on a train all the way to Berghain and then catch the sleeper back to London once you inevitably get turned away at the door.

The Eurostar service currently links the UK to Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Lille, but has been given the all-clear to merge with fellow rail firm, Thalys, meaning the distinctive blue-and-yellow trains could soon be rocketing along their network of routes through Germany as well as additional destinations in France, Belgium and Holland. Passengers might still have to change trains to reach new destinations, the merger will make journeys easier - especially as you’ll be able to buy single tickets from one operator for the whole trip, and the connecting services can now be scheduled to work seamlessly with each other. No more pulling up to the station five seconds after your connecting train has left!

The deal itself can’t have been too difficult to negotiate, given that both Eurostar and Thalys are already part-owned by French firm SNCF, but it still had to navigate its way past the European Commission for approval.

Thankfully, they gave it the green light and it’s being hailed as one of the biggest revolutions for European rail travel in many years.

It's a big move from Eurostar, who just a year ago were rumoured to be on the brink of bankruptcy due to the pandemic limiting international travel, but soon the iconic trains could be on the move in a major way.

And there’s also hope that it will reduce unnecessary air travel and help towards climate change reduction. SNCF president, Guillaume Pepy said: “The challenge of the climate emergency and the demand for eco-responsible transport require an ambitious response. By proposing to pool the combined strengths of Eurostar and Thalys we want to respond to this challenge,” president of SNCF Guillaume Pepy said when the project was first proposed.”

Pack your bags, the whole of Europe just got a little bit closer!

picture credit: Roman Craft/Unsplash

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