Eurostar boss Jacques Damas has shrugged off Spain running services through the Channel Tunnel, saying that red tape will hold back rival rail operators from emerging.
The owner of the tracks, HS1, however, has begun holding talks with a number of foreign train operators in a bid to attract them to the UK for rival international rail services, the Telegraph first reported.
After saving Eurostar from falling into administration earlier this year, following some 18 months of pandemic restrictions which severely curbed travel, Damas said the service was “ready” for another competitor.
The competitor would run services under the English Channel, and open up another set of gates to European travel for Brits.
“I am very happy to play the game,” Damas said. “It cannot arrive tomorrow…it is a question of years.”
The added competition, which would not arrive on the scene for some time, could pave the way to lower service prices for holiday goers.
His comments follow reports that Spanish rail operator Renfe is seeking to operate a new service between Paris and London, initiating talks with the Spanish ministry of finance to be granted permission.
The company is expected to take advantage of the slots in the tunnel under the Channel, capitalising on the high passenger demand for the route.
“Renfe wants to operate on the Paris-London high-speed line through the Eurotunnel, and has already started initial contacts to compete with Eurostar,” Renfe told AFP.