Officials in Spain and France have confirmed that direct high-speed rail services linking Paris and Barcelona will start from December 15.
The announcement follows months of speculation about the launch of the new service following the completion of a 131-kilometre line between Barcelona and Figueras at the beginning of the year.
SNCF has said the price of ticket between Paris and Barcelona will start from €59 euros, with journey times of around six hours and 25 minutes.
Initially, Renfe and SNCF will operate five services a day in each direction: two daily services from Paris to Barcelona, and three more trains from Toulouse to Barcelona, Lyon to Barcelona and Marseille to Madrid.
Confirming the launch date, the Spanish government said: “This is a milestone in the interconnection between the two countries deepens our excellent neighborly relations, even closer to the Spanish and French citizens and facilitates the exchange of goods and services, thereby opening a new perspective for the Mediterranean branch of high-speed railway axis of southwest Europe.”
About blinking time! I took the Elipsos down to Barca for a stag do in Aug 2008, and the HS trackbed was already there….
Any way you can get to Barcelona is a good one1
Wow. For purposes of comparison, the distance from Boston to Washington DC is about 30% shorter, the train costs double what the TGV to Barcelona does, and takes ten hours. We’re Number One! Yay America! Whoohoo! Who cares about our crappy trains when we can bomb whomever we want. Or something.
Yes, exactly! If you really want to cry, look at what a ticket on Ferrari’s new Italo train (private train with gorgeous leather seats, free WIFI and first-class service on Italy’s gov’t-maintained rails) offers you — advance fare of 40 Euros is Rome to Venice (distance from DC to Boston) in just 3 hours and change; even the same-day fare is never higher than 82 Euros. Try buying a ticket for same-day service on the horrid ‘NE Regional’ for a 10 hour journey from DC to Boston for just 82 Euros (about $110)…nope, you’ll be shelling out almost $200. Americans pay A LOT more to go SLOWER and LESS DISTANCE on 1970s rolling stock. Don’t even get me started on the Acela, which is just a slow-speed ‘gated community’ for rich people who like to imagine they’re going faster than the ‘poors’ on the NE Regional.
The cost of rail travel isn’t just the ticket though – how much are European fares subsidised by taxpayers? And while Italian rail fares might be cheap, have a look at ‘walk on’ fares in the UK…
The USA’s rail network (like its geography) isn’t really comparable to Europe’s – it’s much more freight-focused, and I understand it is very good at that.
Well, the biggest difference is that most European rail networks are publicly owned, akin to roads. At the time of their founding, the stock rolling on them was publicly owned as well, but most are now privatised and allow for competition. (Sometimes the privatisation is bungled, as it was in the UK. In fact, the failure of the UK rail network scared the rest of the EU into halting similar programmes.)
This meant planning and maintenance was originally driven by political goals as much as profitability. It also explains why USA rail networks do not hook up all that well, as rail networks also competed with each other and tried to make it hard to move between nets.
Rail networks in the USA are still mostly owned by the company that owns the stock, which early on decided to cede passenger service to buses and airlines, concentrating instead on the higher profit margins in freight. Amtrak was created specifically because there was no private company willing to do rail passenger service any more.
Had the train taken 4hours it would be really good. No one wants to spend more than 4 hours on a train unless it is a sleeper.