Who is Evolyn? The new cross-channel operator to challenge Eurostar

Evolyn, a new high-speed rail startup, is planning to welcome commuters onto its first trains in 2025, threatening the cross-channel monopoly enjoyed by Eurostar since 1994.

The announcement has gained a lot of publicity across the press with the news that a new London to Paris service could be less than two years away.

An Evolyn spokesperson told Reuters that they had agreed to purchase 12 trains from France’s Alstom, which could rise to 16, as part of an overall investment of £1 billion into the venture.

Will Evolyn mean cheaper fares? Will Evolyn provide a better service than Eurostar? It appears that is their aim, but they are certainly planning on taking a slice of the pie which is currently the sole preserve of Eurostar.

Who is Evolyn?

There is an element of intrigue as well as definite interest as to who is behind this launch, given how popular the route is.

What we do know from the information that has been released so far is that Evolyn is led by the Cosmen family of Spain, who are key investors in Mobico, the train and coach operator formerly known as National Express.

As reported by Reuters, “The owners or shareholders of this consortium are French and British partners, both industrialists and investment funds, as well as financiers, and long-standing railway professionals, and international funds interested in the project.”

Jorge Cosmen, Evolyn chief executive indicated that there is government backing for the proposed new service, as featured in the Guardian.

“The acquisition of 12 high-speed, state-of-the-art trains, to be expanded to a minimum of 16 according to our forecasts, is the definitive step in the materialisation of Evolyn, a high-speed rail operator that has been under development for three years and that today marks a very important milestone.”

He continued, “We know that the governments of the United Kingdom and France welcome a project that will allow their citizens to increase the connection options between the UK and several countries in continental Europe, with a green alternative that will also contribute to decarbonisation.”

The under-sea rail connection between the United Kingdom and France runs on an “open access” basis meaning that other operators have a right to use the infrastructure which has only hosted Eurostar up to this point.

Further information is expected now that Evolyn’s intention has been announced in a development that could significantly enhance and shake up rail travel provision in the Chunnel.

It remains to be seen if any regulatory or border control issues will prove to be an obstacle in the way of Evolyn as previous initiatives from other proposed service providers have not materialised.

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Written by

Graeme Hanna

Graeme is a freelance writer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland who has been writing full-time for the last three years. He specialises in football and Rangers FC in particular, as well as being on top of news and trending matters. His work has been published in titles such as Rangers Review, Give Me Sport, Manchester Evening News, MyLondon and the Belfast News Letter.