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International Rail Services


Eurostar is the high speed service that is jointly operated by the British, French, and Belgian rail systems, operating between London and Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel. Service began on November 14, 1994, operating from London-Waterloo to Paris Gare du Nord. Service was later added from London to Brussels South Station (Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid). On November 14, 2007, the London terminal was moved to St. Pancras Station, following the completion of the High Speed 1 line. Formerly, Eurostar trains used conventional tracks in England, which resulted in a slower trip. Currently, a nonstop trip on the Eurostar from London to Paris takes 2:15, and a nonstop London to Brussels trip takes 1:51.


Thalys is the name for the international high speed rail services that operate between Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Cologne. Thalys trains are jointly owned and operated by SNCF (France), NMBS/SNCB (Belgium), Deutsche Bahn (Germany), and Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Netherlands). The trains themselves are TGV trains, modified to handle the different power voltages on each country's tracks. PBA trainsets are modified TGV Réseau trainsets and can only operate between Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam. PBKA trainsets are single level TGV Duplex trainsets and can operate to all Thalys destinations. The acronyms that form the train type names originate with the cities that each trainset can serve. Thalys services began on June 2, 1996.