Rail travellers in Europe will be waiting for years to come before a single ticket can be issued across Europe's high-speed train system after a pan-network booking system was abandoned.
European high-speed operator group RailTeam let slip the axing of the project at an event in Brussels last week after spending two years evaluating the system.
One of the key launch elements of the RailTeam organisation, proposed when it launched in 2007, was the creation of a Europe-wide booking engine which would allow passengers to have just one transaction and one e-ticket for any journey across the network of operators.
Those backing the RailTeam project included the heavyweights of European high-speed rail such as Eurostar, Thalys, DB Bahn, TGV and OBB.
Unfortunately it now looks like the project will be consigned to the short to medium term dustbin of great ideas after rising costs and complications with creating the system were cited as reasons for the axe to fall.
The initial budget was set at Euro 30 million in 2007, a figure a Eurostar official tell us today was surpassed "many times" and led simply to the cost being labelled "too prohibitive".
The final cost for the system is currently unknown.
The spokesman says the economy also dented enthusiasm for the project as the companies involved in RailTeam now have "different priorities".
Suggestions that political disagreements between the companies in RailTeam (some are state-owned, others private held) were to blame for the project being curtailed were also dismissed.
It is unclear as to what made the system also "too complicated" to complete. It is well known in railway circles that many of the protocols behind the booking systems across Europe are decades old, with over "100 years of heritage" to unravel.
Another suggestion from a number of sources is that companies included in RailTeam realised that they would miss out on selling tickets through own systems (and subsequent up-sell opportunities), triggering a cooling of enthusiasm for the project.
It was also unclear who would manage the system on a pan-European basis when it was completed.
However the frustration that led to the project being launched in the first place will continue. Eurostar says it is developing "bi-lateral" agreements between it and individual operators for certain routes it serves.