EUROPE: SNCF and RENFE began selling tickets for Paris – Figueres TGV services on November 23, ahead of the launch of through trains on December 19.

Two return trips from Paris-Lyon will operate daily over the new Perpignan – Figueres high speed line, with a journey time of 5 h 30 min. The 44·4 km standard gauge cross-border line includes an 8·3 km tunnel under the Pyrenees at Le Perthus.

Initially TGVs will terminate at Figueres Vilafant, where connections are provided over ADIF’s 1 668 mm gauge network to Girona and Barcelona — journey times from Paris to the Catalan capital will be reduced by 1 h 15 min to 7 h 25 min. SNCF expects to extend TGV services to Barcelona once the standard gauge line from Figueres is completed; construction has been delayed and opening is now expected in 2012.

In addition RENFE plans to use gauge-changing trainsets to operate three daily through trains between Barcelona and Perpignan, but no start date has been announced for these services.

SNCF and RENFE have set up a commercial joint venture company to manage cross-border high speed services, although the brand name has yet to be revealed.