France’s first open-access passenger train left Paris Sunday night, arriving in Venice on Monday morning. Created by a joint venture between Trenitalia and Veolia-Transdev, Thello will take over the regularly scheduled service over the Paris-Venice route, operated until present by Artesia – a joint subsidiary of SNCF and Trenitalia. The two companies announced in February that they would end their agreement.
Thello will initially begin a daily return service to Italy with the aim of “upgrading the rail service and, subject to positive feedback from customers, a Paris-Rome overnight service will be offered during the course of 2012”, explained Albert Alday, Director-General of Thello.
The company aims to stand out in terms of its onboard service, with between eight and twelve members of staff aboard to assist passengers. “What sets us apart is that the crew members are responsible for the same passengers throughout the journey”, explained Thello’s manager.
The trains depart from Paris-Gare de Lyon, where Thello has operational premises as well as a ticket office. Seats can be reserved on the Thello website at www.thello.com. Ticket prices start from 35 euros for a six-berth couchette to 220 euros for a one-bed sleeper.
Thello operates on the French network with around 40 coaches leased from Trenitalia and locomotives leased from SNCF subsidiary Alkiem. The operator hopes passenger numbers will reach 250,000 a year and that occupancy rates reach close to 80%.
(Source: Veolia Transdev)