Thalys and Eurostar, providers of train journeys on high-speed lines, want to merge. The proposal for this amalgamation into a new train giant has been presented to the boards of both companies under the name 'Green Speed'.

It is an attempt by the British Eurostar and the French Thalys to become a serious competitor for budget airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet. The amalgamation allows travelers to travel between London and Cologne, for example, without switching.

Together, Eurostar and Thalys operate in five countries (France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany) where currently 112 trains run every day.

Now they jointly carry more than 18.5 million passengers a day. The two companies want to see this grow to 30 million passengers by 2030. An ambitious goal that they hope to achieve thanks to a "new generation of environmentally conscious and responsible travelers", the French transport company SNCF writes in a statement.

SNCF is the largest shareholder in both Thalys and Eurostar. With the merger, there must also be a single ticket system that makes it easier for travelers to book their journeys. The companies are also focusing on improved travel schedules. The merger must, according to SNCF, "become an additional reason for choosing the train over traveling by road or air in Europe".

The merger of the two companies also has to be approved by the European competition authority.