Rail Europe

 

 

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Welcome To Rail Europe

Where it all began...
In 1828, when the very first railway line in France opened near Saint-Etienne in Rhone-Alpes. It was initially to transport coal, but passengers soon climbed aboard and the era of rail travel began.

French trains did not stop at the French border. Soon they were crossing into Italy when the Mont Cenis rail tunnel was completed in 1871.

For overnight journeys, the CIWL (Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits) sleeping car company was formed and luxury trains were just around the corner. The most famous train ever (until the coming of TGV and Eurostar) the de luxe Orient Express, started its legendary journeys from Paris to Istanbul in 1883.

In 1893, the Compagnie du Nord, the first French private railway to be represented in the UK, established an office in London's Victoria Station, but it wasn't until 1912 that the office at 179 Piccadilly was opened by the Paris-Lyon-Mediterranee Company.

In 1937 France nationalised its rail network and Sociètè Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF) was created. In the UK, French Railways Limited was formed to represent SNCF in the UK Market.

In 1938 French Railways Ltd acquired the site at 179 Piccadilly. All UK trading was carried out under this name from this site and reported to Grandes Lignes International (now known as Voyages France Europe Partenaires VFEP) which controls the international passenger distributions.

In 1976 the first moves were made to construct a Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV) line from Paris to Lyon, a project that developed into a nationwide high-speed network that now reaches out to over 200 towns and cities.

However, nothing has ever captured headlines or the travelling public's imagination in quite the way Eurostar did when it arrived in 1994. Journey times from London to Paris tumbled from 8 hours by the traditional rail and sea route to 3 hours by Eurostar.

In 1997, following the privatisation of the British Rail operating companies, GLI created a company Rail Europe Group Limited to acquire the international arm of British Rail (British Rail International). British Rail International consisted of a number of operations throughout the world, including America and Continental Europe. Following the acquisition the American operations were transferred to Rail Europe Group Inc. in the US.

Rail Europe Limited Registered office:
34 Tower View,
Kings Hill,
West Malling,
Kent,
ME19 4ED

Registered Company Number 03038075 (Incorporated in England)

VAT reg No. 637 0492 32

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