Thalys is an international high-speed train operator originally built
LGV Nord high-speed line between
Paris and Brussels. This
track is shared with
Eurostar trains that go from
Lille and the
Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV
Cologne as well. Its system is
Thalys International (
SNCF (62%), NMBS/SNCB (28%), and
Deutsche Bahn (10%)) and operated by THI Factory (
4 Rolling stock
5 Accidents and incidents
6 See also
8 Further reading
Before Thalys, there had been an express rail service between Paris
Brussels since 1924 on the train service l'Étoile du Nord. In the
1970s it connected the two cities in around 2 hours 30 minutes.
The decision to build a high-speed railway between Paris, Brussels,
Amsterdam was made in 1987. On 28 January 1993, SNCF,
Nederlandse Spoorwegen and
Deutsche Bundesbahn (which
became part of
Deutsche Bahn in 1994) signed an agreement to operate
the axis jointly through the brand Thalys, and in 1995 Westrail
International was created by the French and Belgian national railways
to operate the services. On 4 June 1996 the first train left Paris
LGV Nord until it reached Belgium, taking 2:07 hours to
Brussels and 4:47 hours to Amsterdam.
In 1997, the Belgian
HSL 1 line, allowing 300 km/h and running
from the French border to the outskirts of Brussels, was completed for
service. On 14 December 1997 the first
Thalys train from
Brussels ran on the HSL 1, reducing travel time to 1:25 hours. At the
same time service commenced to
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
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
Thalys started a daily Service between
Brussels and Geneva.
Thalys Soleil started offering direct connections to the Provence;
initially to Valence, and extended to
Marseille in 2002.
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’Été service to Marne-la-Vallée.
Deutsche Bahn purchased
10% of the company in 2007.
Beginning 14 June 2009 the journey between
shortened by 19 minutes when the new high speed line
HSL 3 between
Aachen opened using Deutsche Bahn's thrice-daily ICE trains
Brussels and Frankfurt.
HSL 3 was completed in 2007,
Thalys trains had not yet been equipped with the
equipment necessary to use the new line. After installation and
Thalys began operating on
HSL 3 on 13 December 2009. For the
Thalys started operating on the HSL 4/HSL-Zuid
high-speed line between
Amsterdam 13 December 2009, two
years after the line's construction.
Since 29 August 2011, one return journey to
Cologne has been extended
Essen Hauptbahnhof, and since 30 October 2011, one return
Brussels had been extended to
Brussels National Airport.
In June 2013,
Deutsche Bahn stopped selling
Thalys tickets, and began
a plan to exit from
Thalys has served
Düsseldorf Airport station
Düsseldorf Airport station since the winter 2013
schedule went into effect.
On 12 April 2014,
Thalys started a regular service between Lille
At the end of March 2015,
Thalys dropped the
Paris – Oostende and
Charleroi – Namur – Liège
routes, due to the lack of funding from the Belgian government.
On 30 March 2015,
Thalys became a train company (named THI Factory),
and operates since under its own train operator certificate.
Starting from 13 December 2015, service in Germany is extended to
High speed rail networks in Europe.
Thalys line network shown in
See also: List of
Beyond Brussels, the main cities
Thalys trains reach are Antwerp,
Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Liège,
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
HSL 1 between
Paris and Brussels, HSL
Antwerp and Amsterdam, and the
HSL 2 and HSL 3
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.
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 which is electrified at 25 kV
The ligne à grande vitesse (LGV) link with Charles de Gaulle Airport
Air France to withdraw its air service between
Air France books seats on
Thalys trains. Thalys
has been given the IATA designator 2H. This is used in conjunction
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
has a code sharing agreement with
Thalys for rail service connecting
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.
Thalys targets a passenger market in France, Belgium, the Netherlands
The percentage of income coming from different routes demonstrates
on which routes the company is most used:
Paris-Belgium (outside Brussels): 8.9%
52% of customers are from the leisure market; 48% from the business
A large segment of Thalys's total sales and income comes from the
Paris and Brussels.
Unlike many national train companies,
Thalys does not allow children
below 12 years old to travel alone.
Since 24 August 2010, there has been a supplement of €7 to Thalys
(as well as other international high speed tickets) tickets bought at
SNCB/NMBS ticket offices at train stations. This is due to a reduction
of a sales fee paid by
Eurostar to the Belgian rail
Thalys yearly passengers and revenue
All figures in millions. Revenue in millions of euro.
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.
Due to the departure of Deutsche Bahn, the distribution of Thalys
tickets was discontinued by the railway on June 9, 2013. Tickets are
still on the train (25 euros surcharge), by phone at
Thalys itself for
the same periods as the Internet sales (see below), the French (SNCF),
the Dutch (NS) and the Belgian State Railways (NMBS / SNCB), some
travel agencies (also with surcharge) and on the Internet up to three
months in advance available.
Cologne Central Station (in the building opposite the main entrance
of the station) there has been a
Thalys Store & More since October
22, 2012. It acts as a normal travel agency with the above
restrictions and makes a surcharge even for own trains.
Further outlets of
Thalys Store & More exist in the main station
Aachen as well as beside the main station Düsseldorf
(Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz, south entrance).
Thalys operates its own lounges in Brussels, Cologne,
Paris. Opened on 9 July 2015, the newest lounge on Gare du Nord,
located on Rue de Dunkerque, offers travelers with a valid
Thalys Loyalty Program) a variety of services, including free
WiFi or a luggage storage service. For business travelers, a fully
equipped meeting room is available for up to six people.
Thalys PBA and PBKA coupled in
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
Electric multiple unit
Tri-current; Operates only on the Paris–Brussels–
Electric multiple unit
Quadri-current; Operates on Paris–Brussels–Cologne–Amsterdam
Accidents and incidents
Thalys PBKA at
Köln Messe/Deutz station
Köln Messe/Deutz station with an Essen-bound train
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-passenger carriages derailed; the
trainset was left heavily damaged. Six passengers were injured and
tracks and catenary were broken in the incident. Passenger carriages
R1 and R2 had to be scrapped. The trainset was later repaired with the
R1 and R2 carriages from a regular
On 11 October 2008, a
Thalys PBA set bound for
Amsterdam collided with
a local ICM train set at
Gouda railway station
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 were 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.
On 21 August 2015, a gunman attacked passengers on an
Paris train near Arras. The incident was treated as a
terrorist attack. Three passengers plus the assailant received
Aachen high-speed railway
Train categories in Europe
Thalys low-cost service
^ a b "Thalys: Key figures". Thalys. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
^ a b thalys.com. "corporate". Thalys. Retrieved 2014-06-02.
^ Thalys. "1976–1995 The train: economic development drive".
Archived from the original on 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2008-10-04.
^ a b Thalys. "History". Retrieved 2008-10-04.
^ Hermsen, Stephan (22 December 2010). "
Thalys verbindet das
Ruhrgebiet mit Paris" [
Thalys connects the Ruhr area with Paris].
DerWesten (in German). Essen.
^ Belga (14 September 2011). "
Brussels Airport à 1h47 de
Brussels Airport 1h47 away from
Paris with Thalys]. La Libre
Belgique (in French). Brussels.
Thalys winter schedule
Thalys is now a train operating company" (PDF). thalys.com (Press
^ Alain Jeunesse and Michel Rollin (March 2004). "La motorisation du
TGV POS" (in French). Retrieved 2007-07-04.
^ United States Government Accountability Office (1994). Intermodal
Transportation. DIANE Publishing. p. 27.
^ [dead link]
^ thalys.com. "Chiffres Clés". Thalys. Retrieved 2014-06-02.
^ F.C. (2010-08-24). "
Eurostar économisent sur le dos de la
SNCB". Lalibre.be. Retrieved 2014-06-02.
^ Unknown (20 January 1999). "
Thalys trook 57 procent meer
treinreizigers in 1998; NMBS: Internationaal treinverkeer zit
duidelijk in de lift". De Financieel-Economische Tijd.
^ Unknown (8 February 2000). "
Thalys vervoert bijna 5 miljoen
passagiers". NRC Handelsblad. p. 15.
^ Unknown (10 January 2001). "Opnieuw goed jaar voor Thalys". De
Financieel-Economische Tijd. p. 9.
^ Van der Heide, Lolke (27 July 2002). "Vliegen zonder vleugels ;
Hogesnelheidstrein komt nog niet los van strijd om nationaal belang".
NRC Handelsblad. p. 11.
^ Unknown (6 January 2003). "Thalys: zes miljoen passagiers in 2002".
Nieuws.nl. Archived from the original on 2012-04-25.
^ Unknown (16 January 2004). "
Thalys vervoert minder passagiers".
^ Unknown (20 January 2005). "Recordjaar voor Thalys". Rotterdams
Dagblad. Rotterdam. p. 716.
^ Unknown (3 January 2006). "Kort Nieuws". AD/Algemeen Dagblad.
^ Unknown (10 January 2007). "6,5 miljoen reizigers voor Thalys". De
Tijd. p. 4.
^ Unknown (16 January 2008). "
Thalys verliest reizigers maar behoudt
omzet". De Tijd. p. 6.
^ "Thalys.com 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-06-02.
^ a b ANP. "Volkskrant (2011)". Volkskrant.nl. Retrieved
^ "Press release Thalys" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-06-02.
^ "Press release Thalys" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-06-02.
^ "Persbericht resultaten 2013,
Rotterdam 17 februari 2014" (PDF).
^ Botman, Hans (27 March 1999). "
Thalys raast door". Algemeen Dagblad.
^ Van Gelder, Harry (26 March 1999). "Belgen, Fransen, Duitsers en
Nederlanders exploiteren hogesnelheidslijn liever samen ;
Europese spoorbedrijven verwerpen concurrentie". De Volkskrant.
Brussels. p. 2.
^ "Treinreiziger.nl, 17 februari 2014". Treinreiziger.nl. Retrieved
Thalys Trains, European Trains". Rail Europe. Retrieved
^ "Railway Gazette: Manufacturers must share the risk". Retrieved
^ nu.nl. "Accident". Retrieved 2008-10-11.
^ IVW.nl. "Rapport". Retrieved 2009-05-18.
^ "France train shooting: Three hurt and man arrested - BBC News".
bbc.com. Retrieved 2015-08-21.
^ "Deux blessés par balle dans un
Amsterdam à Paris".
Le Monde/AFP. Retrieved 2015-08-21.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thalys.
Brunhouse, Jay (1999). Traveling Europe's Trains. Pelican Publishing
Company. ISBN 1-56554-854-X.
Solomon, Brian (2001). Bullet trains. MBI Publishing Company.
International railway journal (2003). A star is born: International
railway journal. Simmons-Boardman Pub. Corp.
Train à Grande Vitesse
Lines in service
LGV Bretagne-Pays de la Loire
LGV Interconnexion Est
LGV Rhin-Rhône (Eastern branch)
LGV Sud Europe Atlantique
Line under construction
Planned or projected lines
LGV Interconnexion Sud
LGV Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
LGV Rhin-Rhône (Western and Southern branches)
LGV des Titans
Associated high-speed lines
High Speed 1
AVE Class 100
Development of the TGV
TGV track construction
Part of rail transport
AVE Class 100, 102, 103
China Railways CRH 2C, 3C, 380A, 380B, 380C, 380D, CR400AF, 400BF; MTR
Eurostar e300; e320
KTX-I, II (Sancheon)
Shinkansen Series 500, N700, E5, E6, H5, L0
TGV Sud-Est (refurbished), Atlantique, Réseau, Duplex, POS, 2N2
Thalys PBA, PBKA
China Railways CRH 1A, 1B, 1E, 2A, 2B, 2E, 5
ICE 1, 2
RENFE Class 120, 121, 130
SBB RABe 501, RABe 503
Shinkansen Series 200, 300, 700, 800, E2, E3, E7, W7
TGV Sud-Est (original), La Poste
AVE Class 101/Euromed
GMB Class 71
GMB Class 71 (Flytoget)
ICE T, TD
ICE 4 (ICx)
NSB Class 73
NSB Class 74
Shinkansen series 0, 100, 400, E1, E4
SBB RABDe 500, RABDe 502, RABe 502, Re 460
SJ 2000, SJ X40
Z-TER (Z 21500)
Class 800, Class 801, Class 802
Experimental and prototype high-speed trains (category)
High-speed railway line
List of high-speed railway lines
planned networks in italics
Malaysia and Singapore
Planned high-speed rail by country
DB Netze Energie
DB Netze Fahrweg
DB Netze Personenbahnhöfe
DB Netze Projektbau
DB Cargo (pre 2016: '
DB Schenker Rail')
DB Schenker Logistics
Former business areas
DB Reise & Touristik
City Night Line
Canberra light rail
Arriva Rail London
Arriva Trains Wales
Arriva UK Trains
British Royal Train
DB Cargo UK
California High-Speed Rail
Deutsche Reichsbahn (East Germany)
Rail transport in Germany
Current train types in the Netherlands
Diesel Multiple Units (DMU)
GTW (Spurt / Velios)
Electric Multiple Units (EMU)
Thalys PBA / PBKA
GTW (Spurt / Velios)