Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Rail expansion plans bring fractured Europe closer together

By CNN wires
September 5, 2013 -- Updated 1708 GMT (0108 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Eurotunnel shuttles 400 trains a day through the Channel Tunnel on average
  • Gounon said the company negotiated with Britain and France to expand its footprint
  • Last year, the Paris-based company launched a ferry service called MyFerryLink for large vehicles and passengers

(CNN) -- While UK politicians seek to distance themselves from Europe's troubled continent, rail operators are doing their best to bridge the gap.

The Channel Tunnel -- a favored travel route for those flitting between London and Paris -- is expanding its reach into mainland Europe by opening its doors to Deutsche Bahn.

The German operator's access to the Channel Tunnel upsets the monopoly held on the route by high speed train operator Eurostar since 2004, and will boost traffic by 4 million passengers.

Read more: Pampering cows the Wagyu way

Schaeuble: Germany wants a strong Europe

Jacques Gounon, chief executive of Eurotunnel -- the company that operates the Channel Tunnel -- told CNN the company was recovering from the crisis, when traffic fell by 20%.

Does Europe need an industrial revolution?

"Now it's up year after year at 3 to 4% gross rate," Gounon said. "Deutsche Bahn will come from Germany and Netherlands... it's quite clear that this will be an incredible increase in our revenue."

How can Europe compete in industry?

Read more: London property recovering -- but is best house in the street in Moscow?

Breeding world's most expensive beef

Deutsche Bahn will shuttle passengers to major destinations in Europe such as Frankfurt, Cologne and Amsterdam. The Eurostar offers links between London, Calais and Paris.

Gounon said the company negotiated with Britain and France to expand its footprint and "explain that there is available capacity within the tunnel."

Read more: Building learning blocks at LEGO school

He said: "We have the knowledge and the skills in order to manage the different slots between our own shuttles, Eurostar slots and the future Deutsche Bahn trains, and that this will be good for customers between the continent and Great Britain."

Eurotunnel has 400 trains a day through the Channel Tunnel on average, with 52 of these being high-speed rail.

Read more: The Netherlands: A nation under water

It's quite clear that this will be an incredible increase in our revenue
Jacques Gounon, chief executive of Eurotunnel

Deutsche Bahn will begin its undersea rail operations as soon as the Intercity Express trains -- manufactured by German technology company Siemens -- are ready for service.

The move will break Eurostar's near-two decade dominance over the Channel Tunnel, but the high-speed operator is making expansion plans of its own.

Speaking to CNN last month, Eurostar CEO Nicolas Petrovic said the company is planning to launch a "state of the art" fleet that can carry passengers to the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

Read more: How's your confidence in the euro

Petrovic said Eurostar would "grab the opportunity of open access in Europe" while trying to wrestle market share from airlines.

Eurostar tickets for an adult traveling from London to Paris cost £69 ($104) for standard class to £250 ($378) for business class.

Petrovic told CNN that the company is looking "very carefully" at pricing, adding that the biggest cost to Eurostar's business is the levy on using the Channel Tunnel.

Meanwhile, Eurotunnel is expanding more than just its train business.

Last year, the Paris-based company launched a ferry service called MyFerryLink, for large vehicles and passengers who prefer to travel by boat. The business has already gained 11% of the market share, according to Eurotunnel.

Gounon said: "People who want to have a different way to cross the Channel, perhaps to pay less... We believe that the ferry business is a compliment of our main core business."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Marketplace Europe
January 16, 2014 -- Updated 1631 GMT (0031 HKT)
Marketplace Europe visits Latvia to see how the Baltic country has made its transition to the Euro from the Lat.
January 16, 2014 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
CNN's Nina Dos Santos visits Latvia to speak to the country's outgoing Prime Minister and the prospects for the eurozone's 18th member.
January 2, 2014 -- Updated 1640 GMT (0040 HKT)
Malta is the gateway to Europe and on the frontline of the immigration flows. Isa Soares reports from a detention center on the Mediterranean island.
January 2, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
CNN's Isa Soares speaks with people on the streets of Valletta who say their country can't cope with more migrants from Africa and the Middle East.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1006 GMT (1806 HKT)
Malta cannot afford to continue supporting migrants from war-torn countries in its over-crowded detention camps, the country's foreign minister has told CNN.
December 26, 2013 -- Updated 2123 GMT (0523 HKT)
Slow recoveries, bailouts, and youth unemployment. Richard Quest speaks to Europe's top CEOs about the issues of 2013.
December 26, 2013 -- Updated 2114 GMT (0514 HKT)
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to economist Bob Parker about defining moments of 2013 and about what to expect in 2014.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1815 GMT (0215 HKT)
Estonia is setting the pace for other European nations with a thriving economy and its tech industry, according to the Baltic nation's leader.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1903 GMT (0303 HKT)
The Baltic nation of Estonia is developing its oil shale energy reserves in a bid to become energy self-sufficient.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
Europe must stop being nationalistic if it wants to help a lost generation of workers, the regional boss of U.S. conglomerate General Electric says.
November 14, 2013 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Peer at the windows and you'll spot big colorful chairs, plastic plants and a huge bed, but this is no department store.
November 19, 2013 -- Updated 1006 GMT (1806 HKT)
There once was a time, many years ago, when the sounds of bagpipes struck fear into the stomachs of Englishmen.
November 11, 2013 -- Updated 1116 GMT (1916 HKT)
Greece is on the way to economic recovery as investor faith returns to the recession-ridden eurozone nation, an executive at Greece's largest bank has told CNN.
November 8, 2013 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Could Greece's famous spice help the country's farmers through a four-year long economic crisis.
November 1, 2013 -- Updated 1307 GMT (2107 HKT)
One of the masterminds behind the euro says Europe would have suffered a far worse fate if the single currency had never been created.
October 31, 2013 -- Updated 1741 GMT (0141 HKT)
Nina Dos Santos visits the Dutch city where the European treaty carrying the city's name came into force 20 years ago.
October 25, 2013 -- Updated 1510 GMT (2310 HKT)
As Spain continues its drive to slash budgets and cut spending, one of the nation's favorite pastimes is under threat as ministers look for ways to boost productivity.
October 24, 2013 -- Updated 1617 GMT (0017 HKT)
The high commissioner of Brand Spain talks about getting the country back on its fee and attracting business.
ADVERTISEMENT