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RENFE seeks to take on the TGV

01 Jul 2019

FRANCE: On July 1, RENFE Operadora confirmed its intention to enter the French high speed passenger market, saying it had lodged the relevant applications with regulator Arafer, safety authority EPSF and infrastructure manager SNCF Réseau.

The Spanish national operator would compete with incumbent SNCF on high speed routes initially using a fleet of 10 S100 trainsets which were built by Alstom in 1991-93 and are derived from the TGV Atlantique design. These already run into France on services from Spain which the two national operators run as a partnership.

RENFE is reported to be targeting the Lyon – Montpellier and Lyon – Marseille routes with between two and five trains each way per day; these could start in December 2020 under the current plans.

The company admitted that at present, for ‘technical reasons’, it would not be able to extend these trains to serve Paris, but that it expects to do so ‘in a second phase’. RENFE also says it is working to have its S106 high speed train approved for use in France. This is Talgo’s Avril design of which it has 30 on order; 10 are expected to be approved for international use.

RENFE is also to open an office in Lyon.