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Trainline buys Captain Train

15 Mar 2016

EUROPE: UK-based ticket retailer Trainline announced its acquisition of booking platform and mobile app developer Captain Train on March 14. Trainline said this would ‘combine two of Europe’s leading digital rail ticket retailers to create the new leader in the European market’, covering 36 operators in 22 countries. 

Trainline has £1·6bn of ticket sales a year, with 28·8 million visits to its app and website each month. Captain Train was funded by Alven Capital, CM-CIC Capital Privé and Index Ventures. It covers 19 European countries, has over 1·6 million registered users and sells more than 5 000 tickets/day.

‘Joining forces with Captain Train means that within a couple of clicks, any customer will be able to travel in Europe by train, something that today is really difficult to do’, said Trainline CEO Clare Gilmartin, who becomes CEO of the group. ‘It should be easy to buy a rail ticket – simple to book, transparency on the best fares, no queuing in stations and a great customer service experience overall.’

‘We share the same ambition, and it was a natural step for us to decide to work with Trainline’, said Captain Train founder Jean-Daniel Guyot, who remains CEO and also becomes Director of Trainline International. ‘The complementary nature of our offerings and the scope of the markets that we will cover will enable us to reach our shared objective of making rail travel in Europe easier.’

Investment firm KKR acquired Trainline in March 2015 with the aim of accelerating growth in the UK and expanding in Europe and beyond. ‘We had the vision of creating the clear global leader in digital rail mobility’, said Philipp Freise, Head of Technology, Media & Telecoms at KKR. ‘The combination of Trainline and Captain Train is an important step on this journey, and will bring together a management team of world class talent in rail, tech, product and marketing.’