SNCF and Deutsche Bahn intend to launch a direct TGV between Paris and Berlin by the end of 2023, the head of the French company announced Tuesday, arriving in Strasbourg to celebrate 15 years of high-speed Franco-German cooperation.
“We want to launch a Paris-Berlin TGV in December 2023,” SNCF chief executive Jean-Pierre Farandou told AFP. “It makes sense because we see that people are willing to take longer and longer trips. There are really people who are willing to stay five hours, six hours, seven hours on a train,” he explained. “In this case, Paris-Berlin is seven hours. »
“Let’s give it a chance”
“A few years ago, we found it a bit long and we were afraid of not having anyone. There are more and more people for whom this is not a problem, much better! “, She launched, stressing that“ taking the train is a way to reconcile mobility and the protection of nature ”. “We are going to try, with our German colleagues, to make this train work,” said Jean-Pierre Farandou.
For starters, there should be one round trip per day on this link via Frankfurt, operated in partnership between SNCF and Deutsche Bahn with German ICE high-speed trains, said Alain Krakovitch, director of TGV-Intercités at SNCF. It could later be supplemented by a second round trip with French TGVs, he added. “It is quite symbolic of the evolution of our society, and of the desire of many of our fellow citizens to favor the train,” said the manager.
Also a night train.
“The observation we are making today is that Paris-Milan and Paris-Barcelona have amazing occupancy rates: in Paris-Milan, the offer has doubled with the arrival of Trenitalia (the Italian public company, which came to compete with the TGV SNCF in December, Ed), and despite that, the trains are full”, he explained. “We must be able to have the same in Paris-Berlin! “.
The daily TGV linking Frankfurt with Marseille – via Strasbourg and Lyon – in 7:48 hours is a success, said Alain Krakovitch. The Paris-Berlin high-speed day train will join a night train connection between the two capitals to be operated by Austrian Railways ÖBB – in cooperation with SNCF and Deutsche Bahn – also from the end of 2023.
“Essential for climate goals”
“It will be at the same time, the night train and the day train. We will have the choice according to taste”, Jean-Pierre Farandou summed up. “Let’s make Europe somewhere, the Europe of everyday life,” he launched. “We are making peace in Europe with the railway! “I am convinced that we need more railways in Europe and a strong Europe needs a strong interconnection over the rails,” added his colleague from Deutsche Bahn, Richard Lutz. Railway development is “essential to achieve climate goals,” he stressed.
SNCF and Deutsche Bahn have been operating high-speed trains, TGV and ICE, between France and Germany since the opening of the first section of the Paris-Strasbourg high-speed line in June 2007. Together, the two companies have transported, in fifteen years, 25 million people in Paris-Frankfurt, Paris-Stuttgart-Munich and Frankfurt-Marseille, the train now beats the plane on the Paris-Frankfurt axis.