Sir Richard Branson is reportedly planning to challenge Eurostar’s monopoly on Channel Tunnel rail services with a rival operation.
According to The Telegraph, former Virgin Trains Managing Director Phil Whittingham is in charge of heading the venture, which comes four years after Virgin Trains ceased operations in the UK.
The plan is said to be in the early stages, but an industry source said that Virgin ‘would have a strong chance of succeeding’ as a Eurostar challenger, due to its experience running a long-lasting UK train company.
However, a Virgin spokesperson said: “Virgin doesn’t comment on rumour or speculation.”
This comes just weeks after Spanish company Evolyn also revealed plans to run a new Channel Tunnel service.
The Telegraph reports that two more companies could bid for rival Eurostar operations in the next few weeks, after the high-speed rail network in Europe became open access, meaning companies not operating routes are now able to bid for track space.
GetLink, the company that owns the Channel Tunnel declined to comment on Virgin’s reported plans, but said it would “welcome growth in traffic through the Channel Tunnel whether from the current incumbent, Eurostar, or from new entrants to the market”.