Will the high-speed train service from Lyon to Turin ever really happen?

Tens of thousands of people rallied this weekend in the north Italian city of Turin to support a planned high-speed train line to Lyon that faced years of opposition, especially from environmental groups. But will the project go ahead?

Will the high-speed train service from Lyon to Turin ever really happen?
People gather with flags reading "NO TAV (No to high speed trains)" in front the law court of Chambery, southeastern France. Photo: AFP
Between 30,000 to 40,000 people packed the city's Castello plaza, one of the largest in the capital of Piedmont region, in the first large-scale demonstration in favour of the TAV Lyon-Turin railway.
The protest came after Turin city authorities, lead by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), in September approved a motion demanding a halt the project. The Piedmont regional government has ruled in favour of the TAV.
Italian and French transport ministers are expected to meet on Monday to discuss the project.
“Turin is closing itself off, this is why we thought we have to do something as citizens,” Giovanna Giordano and Patrizia Ghiazza, two of the organisers, told reporters. “Turin has come out onto the streets to say yes many times.”
Supporters see the train project as a potential source of growth for the region and northern Italy.
Elected in 2016, Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino of the Five Star Movement said on Saturday that “the door is open and will remain open” in a blog post showing a photo of her office door.
The Lyon-Turin project would involve construction of a 57.5 kilometre tunnel between Maurienne valley and Susa valley, to cut travel time between the two cities to two hours from current four hours.
Luigi Di Maio, political chief of the M5S, has called for complete renegotiation of the project, which he dismisses as a waste of public money.
France's Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne told the national assembly on Monday the government remains determined to complete the project.
The EU has attempted to push the two countries to advance. The total cost of the tunnel is estimated at €8.6 billion, 40 percent financed by the EU, 35 percent by Italy and 25 percent by France.

Eight reasons to leave Paris for Lyon


Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.