While travelling around Europe by train isn’t quite as nightmarish as navigating the US rail system, there is still plenty of work to be done by way of logistics. For travellers, working out the most economical ways of avoiding having to catch a flight between cities and countries is becoming increasingly important – not just because airlines are nothing short of a gamble in terms of service, and even operation right now, but because of the immediate concern around carbon emissions. It’s because of this that revolutionising European railways has been on the EU’s agenda for years now, and it seems the latest development here is an attempt to make high-speed rail travel between Paris and Berlin with a new direct train service coming next year.
The Paris-Berlin high-speed train service will reportedly take just seven hours and require no stops. Austrian railroads OBB will operate the route in collaboration with SNCF and Deutsche Bahn, which makes it likely the service will take place on French TGVs that are modified to handle different high-speed signal systems and voltages.
The daytime high-speed train service will be introduced alongside a night train connection between the two cities, replacing the need for travellers ferrying between Paris and Berlin to change trains in Frankfurt or Mannheim.
“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,” SNCF CEO Jean-Pierre Farandou told AFP (via Euronews).
Given the popularity of the Paris-Milan and Paris-Barcelona non-stop routes, it makes sense that Berlin would someday be on the agenda for French operator SNCF.
And it seems Germany will be easier to reach overall by train from some of Europe’s biggest entry ports. In other news, Eurostar is set to merge with French-Belgian operator Thalys to link London with several cities in Germany including Cologne, Dusseldorf and Dortmund.
Currently, the Eurostar network is one of the most popular ways to head from London to cities like Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Rotterdam without needing to stop over in any additional cities, cutting travel time significantly and giving travellers more time on-ground.
The addition of Germany bumps Eurostar’s network up to five countries, part of what’s being referred to as the Green Speed rail network. This also means Eurostar and Thalys will be merging their respective loyalty programs – Club Eurostar and My Thalys World – to better service frequent riders.
The Paris to Berlin direct train service and London to Germany direct services should be complemented by more non-stop routes in the near future as the EU starts actioning plans that have been in the works for years, such as Venice introducing an entry fee and reservation requirement for day-trippers.