Railway giant Eurostar is expected to have new competition as early as next year, and the move could ultimately make fast, eco-friendly travel more accessible and affordable.
As detailed by Smithsonian Magazine, Evolyn agreed to acquire 12 trains from French manufacturer Alstom in October, and if all goes according to plan, the high-speed railway startup could end a decadeslong monopoly on cross-Channel Tunnel train travel.
“It would be the first time, after 30 years of Eurostar’s monopoly, that a competitor has entered the market,” an Evolyn spokesperson told Reuters.
Rail travel has reportedly been increasing in Europe, with the European Commission also advocating for its adoption to significantly reduce harmful carbon pollution.
While walking and biking are the least polluting modes of travel, as well as amazing ways to exercise and improve mental health, trains are one of the most eco-friendly types of public transportation.
According to Our World in Data, riding a train instead of driving a gas-powered car for medium-length distances can reduce pollution by 80%, while taking a Eurostar train to France rather than a short-haul flight can cut emissions by a whopping 97%.
As Reuters pointed out, the Channel Tunnel is meant to handle nearly double the amount of rail travel it currently facilitates, so adding new competition to the mix could play a role in helping the United Kingdom and European Union meet their pollution-reduction goals without negatively impacting their economies or hindering human connection.
Evolyn stated in a press release that it intends to be “fully operational” by 2026 after beginning operations next year, and it has the option to eventually purchase at least four additional trains.
“A competitor for Eurostar can only be a good thing!” Time Out in-house train expert Ed Cunningham told his publication. “Hopefully, it’ll mean lower prices, better services, and a wider variety of European destinations for travelers in London and the rest of the UK.”
“We know that the governments of the United Kingdom and France welcome a project that will allow their citizens to increase the connection options between the UK and several countries in continental Europe with a green alternative that will also contribute to decarbonization,” Evolyn CEO Jorge Cosmen said in a company press release.
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