Loco2 - the independent retailer of train tickets, has announced a partnership with the German national rail operator Deutsche Bahn to make it the first UK company to offer tickets online from both SNCF and Deutsche Bahn, the two largest rail operators in Europe.
The company said the partnership will provide UK consumers with easier access to German train tickets, including high-speed Intercity Express (ICE) trains, and international fares in Europe - and will help make the process of buying rail tickets closer to the ease of buying flight ticvkets on budget airlines.
UK consumers can now choose between more train booking options without the need to visit multiple websites.
Loco2 Managing Director Jamie Andrews said “We founded Loco2 to make booking a train as easy as booking a flight, and adding Deutsche Bahn tickets to loco2.com is a major step forward in achieving this goal. By helping our customers book an increasingly wide range of tickets, we’re confident we’ll get even more people off planes and onto trains in Europe.”
Train travel advisor Mark Smith of Seat61.com said: “European train travel is becoming increasingly popular, but booking remains fragmented. Integrating the French and German booking systems on one website is a key step forward.”
EU Third Railway Package obliges rail companies across Europe to open international routes to competition
The company said its new partnership takes place against the backdrop of a rapidly changing European rail market. The EU Third Railway Package, which came into force in January 2010, obliges rail companies across Europe to open international routes to competition. Subsequent legislation, and increased access to rail operator booking systems has created opportunities for new players such as Loco2 to enter to the market. These changes, along with air passenger duty on flights, and concerns about emissions from aviation, has, according to Loco2, led to a steady and ongoing increase in the number of passengers travelling by train in Europe.