The maiden trip of the new “Océane” TGV train left Montparnasse station in Paris at 9:28am, arriving just over three hours later at Bordeaux's St Jean station. A second train departed for Toulouse at 10:46am.
Passengers on the inaugural trip to Bordeaux were treated to entertainment in the bar. Photo: Céline Juste/SNCF
Residents of Bordeaux and Toulouse were given a sneak preview of the snazzy new rolling stock last week. The first two trains were decorate with artwork by artists from the Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie regions.
Bordeaux street artist Epis One signs the train that bears his artwork. Photo: SNCF
Some 40 Océane trains, with maximum speeds of 320 kilometres per hour, will enter service between now and 2019, in a €1.2 billion project from engineering firm Alstom.
They can seat 556 passengers (22 percent more accommodating than the current TGVs) and SNCF claims that they have been built with improved passenger comfort and more space.
As if being beamed to Bordeaux in three hours wasn't magic enough. Photo: Céline Juste/SNCF
First class, which has room for 158 passengers, will feature seats that can be spun around to face the direction of travel if a passenger requests.
These passengers will also get individual charging points and USB ports.
All passengers will be able to benefit from Wi-Fi throughout the train, as well as real-time information about the journey.
SNCF says it has equipped the trains for the information age. Photo: SNCF
There will also be extra storage space, more wheelchair spots, and “benches” that are available for group travel, not to mention an upgraded and spacious bar carriage.
The high-speed trains are going to shave 70 minutes off the trip between Paris and Bordeaux, with SNCF predicting that that the faster trains will attract 2.3 million extra passengers a year.
A one-way trip will be possible in 124 minutes, down from 194 at present, great news for any Parisians thinking about upping sticks, moving to Bordeaux, and making the commute. When the service is fully up and running it will do the Paris-Bordeaux return trip 33 times a day.
The Toulouse route will take 76 minutes less time, and will run six times a day.