Rail Europe

Rail Europe

Rail Europe is a specialist in the promotion of European rail travel. It comprises four operating companies, as explained below.

Rail Europe Limited

Based in London and Kent, Rail Europe Limited is wholly owned subsidiary of SNCF. It specialises in European Rail Travel for the United Kingdom, promoting the Eurostar and the TGV services.


In 1893, the Chemin de Fer du Nord was the first French private Railway to be represented in the UK. It established an office in London's Victoria station. However, it wasn't until 1912 that the office at 179 Piccadilly was opened by the Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée.

In 1937 France nationalised its rail network and the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Francais (SNCF) was created by the merger of the state railway company with five of the other principal operators. With the nationalisation of these companies SNCF created French Railways Ltd. in 1938 that incorporated the UK operations of its predecessors and the office at 179 Piccadilly. French Railways Ltd reported to Grande Lignes International who runs all SNCF subsidiaries involved in International Travel.

In 1995 French Railways Ltd opened a larger public call centre located in Leake Street, London.

In 1997, following the privatisation of British Rail, SNCF acquired British Rail International, which had offices in various parts of the world including America, Australasia and continental Europe. Subsequently, SNCF merged the operations of French Railways Ltd. and BRI to form Rail Europe Ltd.

In 2002 Rail Europe Ltd. combined its Head Office operations from Piccadilly and Call Centre from Leake Street into new premises located in Kings Hill, Kent.

In 2007 the Travel Centre in London's Piccadilly moved to a new premises located within British Columbia House, 1 Regent Street, London SW1.

Rail Europe 4A

A joint venture between the French and Swiss national railways (SNCF & SBB). They promote European rail travel in Asia, Australasia, Africa and South America.

Rail Europe Group

Rail Europe Group, created in the 1930s, is a subsidiary of the French and Swiss Railways which has been distributing European rail products to travellers from the United States, Canada and Mexico.Fabrice Morel who has been CEO of REG since 2003, stepped down recently to head the RailTeam project in Europe.Frédéric Langlois succeeded him as of July 2007. Among the executive team we find the newly appointed CCO Duncan Still, a former executive from Britrail and supporter of Arsenal.

Rail Europe Continentale

This wholly owned subsidiary of the French Railways is responsible for the marketing and distributing of French domestic and international rail products in continental Europe. Rail Europe Continentale has its headquarters in Brussels and offices in Frankfurt, Milan, Geneva and Madrid.

Rail Europe Chartered Operations

As well as selling and distributing tickets for SNCF and other European railways, Rail Europe runs two chartered rail services in France. These services are operated by SNCF using standard French rolling stock. Both services are aimed at the UK market. They are staffed by both French personnel (Driver and Guard) and English-speaking Rail Europe representatives ("Rail Travel Supervisors").

The Snowtrain

This chartered service operates between January and April. Its purpose is to transport passengers to the ski resorts of the French Alps. The journey takes place in two stages. First, customers take the Eurostar on a Friday from London or Ashford to Paris. On arrival in Paris, customers transfer to an overnight sleeper service. This train is composed of 10 Vu-84 "Corail" coaches with sleeping accommodation comprising of 6 berth "couchette" compartments. The train also comprises a Bar/Disco coach, complete with Disco lighting and DJ booth.

This overnight service calls at Chambery, Albertville, Moutiers, Aime and Landry, terminating at Bourg-Saint-Maurice early Saturday morning. The return service departs Bourg St Maurice on Saturday evenings, with passengers arriving by Eurostar in London or Ashford on Sunday morning.

French Motorail

Operating from May through to September, this chartered Auto-Train service is aimed at travellers who wish to take their cars to the South of France and onwards with a minimum of driving. The train departs Calais Ville station several times every week during the summer months. Two services operate, one terminating at Nice and the other in Narbonne. Passenger stops on the Nice service are at Avignon and Frejus; on the Narbonne service Brive-la-Gaillarde and Toulouse.

Both trains operate as an overnight service. The front section of the train is composed of Vu-78 "Corail" couchette coaches, offering 4-berth sleeping accommodation. The accommodation is basic but clean. There are also a number of Vu-84 coaches offering 6-berth accommodation. The rear section of the train is composed of "Uass" and "DD" type car-carrier coaches. Both the Nice and Narbonne services accommodate up to 69 cars.

External links

* [http://www.raileurope.co.uk RailEurope.co.uk] The UK website of Rail Europe.
* [http://www.raileurope.com RailEurope.com] The US website of Rail Europe Group.
* [http://www.raileurope.eu Raileurope.eu] The website of Rail Europe Continentale.
* [http://www.raileurope.fr RE4A] The English language website of RE4A (Asia, Australasia, Africa & South America markets).
* [http://raileurope.typepad.com Blog] The RE4A Blog.

Other Rail Europe Related Links

* [http://www.sncf.com SNCF.com] SNCF official website
* [http://www.sncf.co.uk SNCF.co.uk] SNCF official UK Website
* [http://www.tgv.co.uk TGV.co.uk] TGV official UK Website

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