Road & Rail

Road & Rail wrap: Eurostar and Thalys to merge, China gets 1,000km/h magnetic train, UTracks’ new brochure + MORE!

Buckle up, folks – its Thursday! Which means you get to catch up on all the latest news and current affairs concerning just about every mode of transport that isn’t a plane… or a ship.

European rail merger to create high-speed rail system linking five countries

Open door of Eurostar train

A project to combine Eurostar and Thalys has been presented to the boards of their shareholders to meet the demand for sustainable travel.

Thalys and Eurostar operate already across five countries – France, United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany – with an approximate population of nearly 245 million. Together, they run 112 trains every day  serving together more than 18.5 million passengers annually.

Going forward, passengers would experience a comfortable, sustainable and European high speed travel experience. By combining Thalys and Eurostar, the Green Speed project would  link the UK with the Mediterranean, the North Sea with the Atlantic and the Benelux countries with the peaks of the Alps.

This new service would be an additional reason to choose the train over  road or air travel in Europe.

Combining resources – in particular, fleets, as well as information and distribution systems – would increase economic efficiency and provide the customer with an enhanced, sustainable commercial service, delivering on the ambition to increase the number of direct links between European cities in the future.

Work on China’s 1,000km magnetic railway to begin next year

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China will begin to build a 1,000km long, high-speed magnetic levitation (maglev) railway next year, linking Guangzhou and Wuhan.

According to local media, the train would travel at speeds between 600km/h and a potential maximum of 1,000km/h, effectively cutting the travel time between the two cities from 10 hours to two.

The train is able to reach these speeds thanks to the maglev system which keeps rolling stocks hovering above the rails, removing friction.

Work will begin in Hubei province.

Europe earlybirds with Railway Adventures

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Railway Adventures has announced a $300 discount on two exclusive rail holidays in The Baltic States and Scandinavia for those who register their expression of interest before 30 November 30 2019.

After the success of the recent inaugural ‘The Baltic States by Rail, Road and Sea’ tour from Russia to Poland over 15 days, it will run again in 2020. An interesting journey that visits many off-the-beaten-track destinations in Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland, it offers great value from $9575 (after discount) per person twin share.

The offer is also available on one of the company’s most popular tours, the 18-day ‘Scandinavia by Rail, Road and Sea’, which will depart in Stockholm on July 20th 2020 and journey up the middle of Sweden to the Arctic Circle on the Inlandsbanan, something special that is not often offered by other touring companies. For those interested in WW2 history, following the story of the Norwegian resistance through this incredibly successful and stunningly beautiful country is a highlight as is spinning around the magnificent Troll Fjord on the Hurtigruten.

These exclusively escorted tours are inclusive of quality centrally located accommodation with daily breakfast and many local meals, rail excursions in first class (where available), boat rides, luxury charter coach with luggage transport on rail travel days and entry fees on a vast variety of guided sightseeing excursions. Airport transfers may be included on select flights from Australia.

Savings will be passed on once customers book their tour. Solo travellers can save as well with a low single supplement of $1950.

International Rail assistance for clients and agents in Scandinavia

International Rail has announced it will be waiving all rail ticket booking fees for agents affected by the recent unfortunate event with Bentours and Tempo Holidays.

Rail tickets are all issued electronically, allowing for them to be emailed and be forwarded to clients who may already be overseas. Agents can offer the assurance to their clients that any situations can be dealt with swiftly to avoid any further travel disruptions during their trip.

Owner and CEO Jonathan Hume said the entire International Rail team is dedicated to assisting all agents and their clients with re-booking Scandinavian Rail packages that are extremely popular at the moment, with most enquiries coming from those on Norwegian itineraries that have rail passes incorporated in them.

Agents can book tickets live on the dedicated trade website www.agent.internationalrail.au  or agents can contact the team on 1300 387 245 to assist with any arrangements.

UTracks releases its boldest brochure ever

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UTracks, Australia’s leading active European holiday specialist today released its boldest brochure ever. The 84 page catalogue is jammed with active tours covering 40 destinations and it’s just the starting point.

UTracks.com has over 460 active tours in Europe. The 2020 selection includes 35 new tours from England’s Thames Path East Walk to Turkey’s Lycian Coast Cycle.

Agents invited on Rocky Mountaineer week with Great Train Journeys

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Agents are invited to tune in to a full week of Rocky Mountaineer from 7 – 11 October with Great Train Journeys.

To kick-start the adventure, agents can watch live broadcasts of Sam Mac travelling aboard Rocky Mountaineer’s ‘First Passage to the West’ route on Channel 7’s Sunrise from 7 Oct.

Rail Europe’s very own Blaze James will also be documenting his journey on the iconic train from 8 Oct via the Great Train Journeys’ Instagram account.

Then on 9 Oct, agents are encouraged to complete the Rail Expert module on Canada’s great train journeys before honing in on the many offers aboard Rocky Mountaineer.

Finally, agents can complete an easy quiz on Friday 11 Oct for a chance to win one of two $100 MasterCard vouchers.

Agents are reminded that 14 per cent commission is offered on all Rocky Mountaineer products booked with Rail Europe’s Great Train Journeys department.

To sign-up to Rail Experts, agents need to create an account on Rail Expert or follow the guidelines on this enrolment guide. For assistance, email training@raileurope.com.au.

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