Train Providers in Europe
Most European train networks are owned and operated by a national rail company such as Deutsche Bahn in Germany, Renfe in Spain or Trenitalia in Italy. However, under European Union agreement, member countries will have to open their train travel marketplaces and allow competitors to offer service between destinations starting in 2019. Accordingly, the United Kingdom has already deregulated its rail infrastructure. Countries throughout Europe are constantly modernizing, expanding and improving their rail services with better intercity networks and new high-speed trains that are making train travel faster and more convenient. Most major rail providers in Europe offer a range of services and ticket types and provide service to destinations in neighbouring countries. Such international rail routes include the 186 mph AVE train from Madrid and Barcelona to Paris, the Italo service that connects Milan, Rome and Naples, and the Paris-London Eurostar line.
Major Train Providers in Europe
Operating via the Channel Tunnel, Eurostar has provided high-speed train connections between the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and the Netherlands for over 20 years. Eurostar trains are a popular and competitive travel option in Europe, often providing faster travel times, greater luggage allowances and more leg room than travelling by airplane. Additionally, there are almost twice as many Eurostar train connections offered between London and Paris per day as flights between the two capitals. Eurostar offers easy connections to rail providers throughout Europe including SNCF, Deutsche Bahn, and SNCB - allowing travellers to reach more rural or mountainous destinations.
Renfe (officially Renfe Operadora) is the main provider of train transport in Spain. The original company was formed in 1941 following the Spanish Civil War, as there was a need to renew the damaged infrastructure of the private sector. Long-distance, commuter and regional trains are all offered by Renfe throughout the peninsula. Some of the most popular routes offered by Renfe include trains from Barcelona to Madrid, Valencia to Seville and Madrid to Valencia.
Deutsche Bahn is the state-owned German railway company that describes itself as being the second largest transport company in the world. Deutsche Bahn was formed in 1994 following the reunification of Germany when Deutsche Bundesbahn, of the west, and Deutsche Reichsbahn, of the East, were consolidated into one company. The most popular connections provided by Deutsche Bahn include those from Berlin to Hamburg, Berlin to Cologne, Hamburg to Stuttgart and Munich to Berlin.
Owned by the Italian government since 2000, Trenitalia is the primary train company operating in Italy. Trenitalia provides both regional and long-distance connections in Italy. The most popular train routes include Rome to Florence, Rome to Venice, Florence to Venice, Milan to Rome and Rome to Naples.
Since 1996, Thalys has provided high-speed train connections between Paris, Brussels, Cologne and Amsterdam. Thalys' high-speed trains provide efficient service with trains that are capable of reaching speeds of 186 mph. Thalys trains are a popular and competitive travel option in Europe, often providing faster travel times, greater luggage allowances and more leg room than travelling by airplane. Thalys offers easy connections to rail providers throughout Europe including SNCF, Deutsche Bahn, and SNCB - allowing travellers to reach more rural or mountainous destinations.