Renfe's high-speed train Ave (on the right), Source: Unsplash

Spanish national railways to provide high-speed services on Paris-Marseille route

Spanish national railways to provide high-speed services on Paris-Marseille route

Renfe will lead to a more diversified market offer for passengers travelling across France

The Spanish national railway operator – Renfe – is setting up to make further inroads into French territory after the launch of Madrid-Marseille and Barcelona-Lyon lines this summer. The company has announced that it plans to provide direct competition to SNCF (French national railways) on the high-speed line linking France’s three main cities: Paris, Lyon and Marseille. The aim is to have a service running already some time in 2024.

According to Les Echo, five Renfe roundtrip high-speed trains will depart the French capital daily. Three of them will only go to Lyon, while the other two will also reach Marseille on the Mediterranean coast.

French train travel market liberalization

Two years ago, France decided to end the high-speed TGV monopoly held by SNCF and open the market to other operators. In fact, Renfe will not be the first foreign operator to enter this lucrative train route.

As far as the Paris-Lyon section is concerned, Trenitalia (Italian railway company) has already been operating a route with 5 daily trains departing between the two cities. In addition, two of them continue through the Alps to Milan.

As for Renfe, looking at 2024, the company wants to boost its services to 16 direct TGV trains per day (or 8 round trips) between France and Spain thus intensifying the public transport links and integration between the two neighbouring countries.

All of the above should be good news to commuters as comparisons show that the Marseille-Madrid train tickets are cheaper on Renfe than on SNCF, which also operates the route. Common sense dictates that the same situation could possibly emerge on the Paris-Marseille line, proving that market liberalization has been a good thing.



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