SNCF’s new “European” TGV launches revenue service in Strasbourg this Sunday 3 July 2016. With an extra 106 km of track, the new high speed line represents phase two of the TGV Est, nine years after the first section opened in June 2007, and will increase speeds on connections to Alsace and the heart of Europe - Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg. This major time saving will see Strasbourg bag a much sought-after place in the club of cities less than two hours from Paris.
Faster connections to Alsace and the heart of Europe
The launch of the “European” TGV and the associated time saving put Strasbourg under two hours from Paris (fastest travel time: 1 hr 46), with 32 trains a day (16 round trips) between the two cities. Starting from Strasbourg, the first TGV of the day at 06.46 arrives in Paris at 08.35, whilst in the other direction the last TGV from Paris-Est at 20.40 arrives in Strasbourg at 22.30 (departs at 21.55 on Fridays and Sundays).
The frequencies and timings mean that same-day (even same-morning/afternoon) return journeys are possible. According to an IFOP poll*, 92% of Strasbourgers think that day or weekend trips to Paris will now be easier.
As well as faster connections to Alsace, the “European” TGV also offers quicker journey times to the heart of Europe, specifically Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. Again according to IFOP*, 82% of Strasbourgers believe that the new line will boost their city’s standing as the “capital of Europe”.
*Telephone survey conducted by IFOP on behalf of SNCF from 28 April to 2 May 2016 across a representative sample of the population of Greater Strasbourg (1001 respondents aged 18 and up).
More customers, more seats
By 2020, the “European” TGV is set to carry 12.8 million passengers yearly: 10.7 million in France and 2.1 million on international routes. This represents an additional 700,000 passengers per year compared to currently (400,000 on French domestic routes and 300,000 cross-border).
Under the joint venture between SNCF and Deutsche Bahn, three daily services between Paris and Germany via Strasbourg will be operated by the latest ICE trainsets.
That extra, innovative touch
The “European” TGV will be rolling out a range of customer-friendly new services, which have been co-designed through workshops involving customers and SNCF staff with the aim of better meeting customer needs as described by travellers. SNCF’s aim is to win customer loyalty by offering a high-quality high-speed travel experience whilst remaining a mode of transport with mass appeal and affordable for all. For example:
- Upon purchasing their ticket, TGV Pro customers travelling in first class on EuroDuplex trains will be able to choose their seat location (near the door, not too near the bar, upstairs or downstairs) from a seating diagram.
- Luggage racks will be easier to identify thanks to new signage to be rolled out gradually between now and the end of the year. Customers will be able to keep their luggage closer to where they are sitting for greater peace of mind during the journey. Before departure, customers will also be able to ask station staff to label their luggage with a QR code, which will enable them to recover their bags more easily should they be lost or left behind.
- Information screens in each coach on EuroDuplex trains will provide information on the regions the train is passing through, and on the onboard services on offer. Details of connecting services will be displayed on arrival at each station, allowing passengers to plan ahead before changing trains and continuing their journey.
- The bar coaches will gradually be fitted out with telephone recharging stations - handy for those who have forgotten their charger.
- And throughout the summer, passengers on EuroDuplex services from Paris will be able to enjoy live music - an original extra which will offer a more relaxed, comfortable boarding and travelling experience.