The high-speed rail service Thalys was originally envisioned in 1987, with an agreement later signed by rail operators from Belgium, France, Germany and The Netherlands to form the company in 1993. This high-speed rail operator offers a unique service that crosses European boundaries and also passes into the UK via the Channel Tunnel. The number of passengers has grown steadily since the formation of Thalys, with 2013 seeing a record-breaking total of more than 6.5 million passengers travelling with the multinational rail operator.
Because of the multinational nature of the Thalys brand, the company operates from four main stations across Europe which are Paris, Brussels, Cologne and Amsterdam. The number of destinations the train operator reaches has now hit 26 and includes major cities such as Dusseldorf and Rotterdam. The main attraction of the service is the speed of travel, for example the Paris to Brussels journey time has been cut to less than 1.5 hours for a 300 kilometers journey.
Thalys offers its customers a wide range of services to choose from that are designed to create the perfect journey by rail. Included in each journey are meals served at the seat of the traveller and the chance to recharge electronic devices using dedicated sockets in each cabin. Economy travellers have access to a wide range of snacks and drinks sold through the extensive Welcome Bar that can be found on each train.
Two classes of tickets can be purchased for the high-speed Thalys railways services throughout Europe. Comfort one is the highest class and includes free food and drinks, along with access to a salon lounge. Comfort two provides a more basic travel experience, but still offers comfortable seats and high-quality service.