Richard Branson could soon launch a new Virgin train service linking the UK to Europe and challenging Eurostar, reports suggest.

Eurostar is currently the only rail operator that connects the UK to mainland Europe through the Euro Tunnel, but a new competitor could be entering the space soon.

Launched in 1997, Virgin Trains ceased operations in 2019, with all routes being taken over by Avanti West Coast.

However, the company could be set to make a resurgence, launching a European train route to rival Eurostar.

The Telegraph reports that former Virgin Train boss Phil Whittingham is preparing a bid to take on Eurostar.

A source told the paper that it would have a “strong change of succeeding” and would offer more routes to France, Belgium and Amsterdam.

A Virgin spokesman said it would not comment on speculation.

However, it is not the only train operator looking to rival Eurostar.

Evolyn, a start-up company, is launching a new London to Paris service, with 12 high-speed trains, that is expected to launch in 2025, with a full service in place by 2026.

The route would run non-stop from London to Paris-Nord, before additional routes would be introduced to take passengers to other destinations in Northern France.

Evolyn CEO Jorge Cosmen: "We know that the governments of the United Kingdom and France welcome a project that will allow their citizens to increase the connection options between the UK and several countries in continental Europe."

A spokesperson added it would be the "first competitor in 30 years" of Eurostar.