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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Lucy Thackray

New high-speed train to connect Paris and Berlin in seven hours

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An exciting new high-speed rail link will improve the interrailing experience from next year - covering the 545 miles between Paris and Berlin.

French rail operator SNCF and German operator Deutsche Bahn announced the link in a joint statement last week, with SNCF’s CEO Jean-Pierre Farandou this week saying the journey will take around seven hours.

“We want to launch a TGV Paris-Berlin in December 2023,” Mr Farandou told Agence-France-Presse.

“It makes sense because we see that people are accepting longer and longer journeys. There are really people who are willing to spend five hours, six hours, seven hours on a train,” he added.

“In this case, Paris to Berlin is seven hours.

“A few years ago, we thought it was a little long and we were afraid we’d have no one. There are more and more people for whom this is not a problem, so much the better!”

There will initially be one round-trip between the cities per day, using German ICE high-speed trains, with scope to increase services to two round-trips a day using French TGV trains, said SNCF.

Alain Krakovitch, SNCF’s director of TGV-Intercités, said that the operators had been watching the sucess of other inter-city routes within Europe, such as Paris-Barcelona.

“The observation we make today is that Paris-Milan and Paris-Barcelona have amazing occupancy rates: on Paris-Milan, the offering has doubled with the arrival of Trenitalia - and despite that, the trains are full,” he said.

The French and German rail companies have been collaborating on an expansion of Europe’s high-speed rail network since 2007 - last week each signed an agreement (“Memorandum of Understanding”) to continue this venture beyond 2025.

DB and SNCF already offer 12 direct train connections per day between France and Germany.

“The high-speed traffic between Germany and France is an outstanding example of how attractive connections promote cross-border rail traffic,” said Deutsche Bahn’s CEO, Richard Lutz, in a statement.

“I firmly believe in the great potential of the railways in and for Europe. Our planned new direct connection between the hearts of our two capitals will inspire even more people to travel by train.”

Jean-Pierre Farandou added: “Our two companies have been working together for 15 years in a unique partnership in which we combine our know-how to get the best out of German and French high-speed transport.

“In view of the climate crisis, rail is the mode of transport par excellence and offers the best alternative for business and leisure travel between our two countries.”

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