Introducing FTE’s newest member: Europe Express – Setting a New Standard as FTE's First Start-Up Member

Europe Express, the latest member in Passenger Traffic joining the Forum Train Europe Community, marks an exciting milestone as the first start-up member following the approval of this category by the FTE Plenary Assembly in November 2023. Julien Gaudremeau and Nicolas Richard, the driving forces behind this exciting venture, shared their story and vision with us.

Julien and Nicolas, highly experienced rail industry consultants with 18 years of expertise, were drawn to the idea of bringing tangible, luxurious trains to life. In 2022, they established Europe Express together with Alain Richard, inspired by the timeless Orient Express.

Europe Express has formed a partnership with Accor and its renowned brand, "Orient Express". While Accor owns the carriages of the highest standard and manages ticket sales, Europe Express acts as a railway undertaking. Julien described their goal: "Our aim is to launch the inaugural commercial routes by 2026, connecting iconic cities like Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. Travelers will embark on a remarkable five-day 'rail cruise' experience, visiting ten captivating destinations before reaching the magnificent arrival station in Istanbul."

So why did Europe Express, a fairly small, privately owned passenger Railway Undertaking choose to join FTE? For Julien and Nicolas, the benefits of FTE membership are evident. Nicholas explains: “Engaging in FTE Coordination Conferences, like the FTE A Conference in Ljubljana, allows us to seamlessly connect with multiple stakeholders at once. It offers an ideal platform to introduce ourselves, engage in meaningful discussions with industry stakeholders, and explore upcoming test runs planned for the latter half of 2025." Thrilled by their experience in Ljubljana in January, Julien and Nicolas are excited to return for the FTE B Conference in two weeks, further strengthening their presence within the rail community and discussing the results of their submitted feasibility studies. However, the benefits of being an FTE member extend beyond just this. FTE's contribution in shaping capacity management processes and frameworks according to the specific needs of railway undertakings and the market facilitates the business of RUs and strengthens the entire railway sector. This support from FTE is particularly valued by Europe Express, who – being a small RU – lacks the necessary resources to dedicate to these strategic sectoral questions.

Welcome aboard Europe Express! The FTE Community eagerly anticipates following your journey and wishes you the utmost success in your endeavour to launch commercial trains by 2026.