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IZY

IZY
Logo of the IZY train service.png
Paris Nord 2017 1.jpg
An IZY train in Paris Nord station
Overview
Franchise(s)Wholly owned subsidiary of Thalys
Main stations(s)Brussels-South, Paris-Gare du Nord
Stations called at2
Parent companyThalys
Websitewww.izy.com

IZY (French pronunciation: ​[iˈzi]) is a low-cost train service between Brussels and Paris. It is a brand of Thalys, which is jointly owned by the French and Belgian national rail companies SNCF (60%) and SNCB/NMBS (40%). It was announced on 1 March 2016, and the first services started on 3 April 2016.[1][2]

Background

Based on the popular Ouigo train service by SNCF, Thalys began its own low-cost service to compete with increasingly popular international coach services such as Eurolines and Megabus, and car pooling services such as BlaBlaCar. IZY provides up to three services per day using two TGV high speed train sets leased from SNCF.

Concept

An IZY train in service

The model of the service is based on low-cost airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet, having the following features:

  • Tickets can only be bought on-line through a dedicated website izy.com or mobile app, not from ticket machines, ticket counters or through the regular Thalys website. Tickets must be purchased at least four hours in advance of the journey and are either delivered by e-mail four days prior to travel, or via the mobile app as an e-ticket consisting of a QR code.[1]
  • Similar to some low-cost airlines, whilst two pieces of luggage (maximum size, cabin baggage at 35 cm×55 cm×25 cm, and hand luggage at 27 cm×36 cm×15 cm ) is allowed free of charge, larger bags must be paid for.[1]
  • The journey takes between 2 hours 8 minutes and 2 hours 30 minutes, while the regular Thalys service takes 1 hour 22 minutes. This is due to the fact that IZY trains use the Paris–Lille railway between Paris and Arras, instead of the high-speed LGV Nord line, allowing IZY to pay lower track fees to SNCF Réseau.
  • The trains carry fewer members of staff, who are tasked with basic maintenance of the train as well as serving passengers.
  • Unlike on Thalys services there is no wifi and individual power sockets are only available on Standard XL seats.
  • The only way to contact the company is via a webform. There is no customer service telephone number or e-mail address.[3]

Pricing & Fees

In order to offer significantly lower prices than on standard Thalys trains, IZY trains lack a buffet car and have a greater number of more tightly packed seats. Standard adult fares start from €19 single depending on the time of the journey and how far it is booked in advance. A premium service named Standard XL starts at €29 and offers a slightly larger seat and an individual power socket. There are also two lower costs options, a collapsible seat in the vestibule for as little as €15 and a non-guaranteed seat option for as little as €10.[1] Thalys promises to charge no more than €59 for a ticket for Standard and €69 for Standard XL.

Supplementary fees are as follows:

  • Children that are 10 or under, a flat fee of €10 is charged no matter the journey.[1]
  • Additional baggage (per piece) is €10 if booked at the time of booking, €20 on-line prior to travel, or €30 if purchased at the station immediately before travel.[1]
  • Pets can be taken on board; provided that they are in a carry case they travel for free as part of the hand luggage. If not, a fee of €30 is charged per animal, or €15 if booked at the same time as the owner. Guide dogs are exempt from charges.
  • An SMS information option for a supplementary fee of €2 per person.[1]

Rolling stock

TGV TMST 373213/373224 at Brussels South.

IZY uses a dedicated TGV Réseau triple-voltage trainset, number 4551, painted in a silver, white and green IZY livery with purple doors.[4]

In 2019, this trainset was be replaced by a former Eurostar Class 373/TGV TMST, formed with half-trainsets 373213 and 373224.[5] The IZY livery on this new trainset uses white instead of silver paint and features more purple.

Stations

IZY uses the main train stations of Brussels-South and Paris-Gare du Nord, in comparison to Ouigo, which serves secondary stations such as Marne-la-Vallée for Paris, and Tourcoing for Lille. However, the IZY service does not use the same rail line as Thalys, but rather conventional older rail lines. For this reason it is more at risk of delays caused by other trains or factors on the rail system than the dedicated Thalys high speed line.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Thalys launched IZY: the new low-cost alternative between Brussels and Paris" (PDF). Izy. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Inauguration of the first IZY train — Launch of the first low-cost train between Brussels and Paris" (PDF). Thalys. Thalys. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  3. ^ "IZY Webform". Izy. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Thalys se lance dans le low cost". MobiliCités. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  5. ^ "[FR] First Eurostar train in Izy livery for Paris – Brussels low-cost services". Railcolor News. Retrieved 18 November 2018.

External links