France’s Le Train has signed an agreement with Spanish manufacturer Talgo for a fleet of new high-speed (HS) trains.
Originally Le Train had hoped SNCF would sell it a number of its retired TGVs, for which SNCF has no use. If these TGVs were made available then Le Train could start in 2024.
LE TRAIN signs an agreement with @TalgoGroup for the future development of a fleet of high-speed trains adapted to the French market and based on the leading high-speed Avril platform.
— Talgo (@TalgoGroup) January 23, 2023
But SNCF still has not decided on Le Train’s request. We originally reported this news in May 2021 – see the embedded tweet from EU rail expert Jon Worth.
Wisely, perhaps, Le Train intends to serve the ‘Nouvelle-Aquitaine’ region rather than competing directly with SNCF in the latter’s Paris heartland.
Le Figaro reports that the first Talgo trainset is due for delivery in 2025. It adds that Le Train hopes to eventually carry three million passengers with 50 daily trains in “a new standard of comfort and customer experience”.
Three routes will be operated, of which two will be faster than SNCF’s current services. These are Bordeaux-Nantes in under 3 hours via Tours rather than Paris, Bordeaux-Rennes in 3 hrs 30 mins and Bordeaux-Angoulême in just 34 mins.
Le Train’s fares will undercut SNCF’s TGV rates but not the latter’s Ouigo prices.
It remains to be seen how SNCF will respond.