Thalys is replacing its Welcome Bar with an unstaffed Kiosk. The HST service between the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany presented its refurbished electric multiple unit (EMU) with an inaugural ride from Amsterdam to Brussels.
It’s a bit surreal, really. We know that, under the project name Green Speed, Thalys and Eurostar are about to merge. In 2022, the HST services will ask the European Commission for permission for this merger. If or when the Commission approves, the companies will merge under a new company headquartered in Brussels. The Thalys brand will be fazed out and only Eurostar will remain. Yet, anno 2021 and 2022 Thalys is refurbishing its rolling stock. To refurbish it in the blue and yellow of Eurostar just a few years later?
But anyway, the refurbishment is going ahead.
“The design for the Thalys trains has been completely revamped to offer you even more comfort. The materials have been chosen with care, the colour scheme has been revitalized and the lighting has been rethought. All this provides for a quiet and serene sensation from the moment you step on board. The space has been optimized and now contains 28 extra seats, more luggage space and a new area to transport bikes. In case you are hungry or get thirsty, the Kiosk welcomes you in a cozy area where distributors will present you with a large choice of beverages, salty and sweet snacks as well as a wide range of biological products”, Thalys introduces the changes.
“And since ‘growth’ and ‘durability’ come as one for Thalys, the optimization of the space allows not only for more comfort, but also for a significant reduction in CO2eq emissions per passenger. Our new trains are also more environmentally friendly thanks to, among others, the installation of led lamps to obtain a more ecological power consumption and toilets with clear water that do not use any chemicals.”
The extra seating, the more ample baggage space and room for two bikes has been found by scrapping the Le Salon meeting room, adding an extra row of seats and transforming the Welcome Bar into a Kiosk.
For now, there is still staff for the Kiosk. But once all rolling stock is refurbished, there will be no need for them and Thalys will be able to end its contract with the caterer. That is at least what we predict.
“Active sitting position”
Treinreiziger.nl was invited to the presentation. The blog noted there’s less leg room. An “active sitting position” was chosen, “so people can work more comfortably”, Belgian designer Axel Enthoven is quoted.
So you sit more upright. You’re expected to work during your journey, not to doze off. Thalys seems to abandon the French train travel philosophy of relaxing in favor of the German train travel philosophy of work efficiency. We should delve deeper into that one day.
Not that the food provided was so amazing, but still, it was nice and a nice extra for your journey.
By the end 2022, more EMUs should be in service.
More on Thalys
- GREEN SPEED | 2024 Eurostar – Thalys merger marks the end of Thalys brand.
- ‘Green Speed’: Train operators Thalys and Eurostar to become one.
- ‘Disney Express’ by Thalys to Disneyland Paris / Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy.
- REVIEW | Thalys Lounge at Brussels South/Midi station.
- Antwerp – Brussels – Paris in Thalys Comfort 1.
- Travelling in Thalys Premium.