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Bordeaux to Paris high speed line inaugurated (but it's not quite ready)

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Bordeaux to Paris high speed line inaugurated (but it's not quite ready)
Photo: AFP
13:10 CET+01:00
President Francois Hollande will be on hand on Tuesday to inaugurate a new train line that will "shrink" France. But don't expect to be able to make the most the high speed connection just yet.
The new "Océane" TGV trains will be inaugurated by Hollande in Charente, western France.
 
The upgrade, which came at a cost of €8 billion, will see trains zooming across the French countryside at speeds of up to 320 kilometres per hour on the Tours to Bordeaux line. 
 
The journey will be cut to 124 minutes from the current 194 minutes.
 
The president of the SNCF, Guillaume Pépy. said the inauguration was "of extreme importance".
 
"This is a real change in geography, as if our country had somehow shrunk," he told France Inter radio. 
 
The trains will also see journey times slashed between Rennes and Paris, 
 
But even though Hollande will cut the ribbon on Tuesday, you'll have to wait until July 2nd before you can ride the fast trains as a customer.
 
And it won't be until mid-March that you will be able to find out just how much ticket prices will change. 

As for the trains themselves, they can seat 556 passengers (22 percent more accommodating than the current TGVs) and have been built with great passenger comfort and more space, rail operator SNCF has said in the past.
 
 
First class, which has room for 158 passengers, features seats that can spin 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. 
 
There will be extra storage space, more wheelchair spots, and "benches" that are available for group travel, not to mention an upgraded and spacious bar carriage.  
 
 
A full 17 of the new trains will be in operation by the time the new line to Bordeaux opens in July, with the rest of the trains due to hit the tracks by late 2019. 
 
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. 
 
 

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