Lyon to get new low-cost high speed rail link to to Paris

Lyon is to get a new direct budget train link to Paris, the French rail operator SNCF has revealed.

Lyon to get new low-cost high speed rail link to to Paris
France's budget rail service Ouigo is expanding. Photo: AFP

The move comes as SNCF is expanding its budget service Ouigo to connect to more cities.

Lyon will become the fifth French city to get a direct Ouigo link to Paris when the service opens in June 2020, reported French newspaper Le Monde.

READ ALSO Ten reasons why Lyon is better than Paris

Currently, train passengers can get a cheap Ouigo service from Paris to Lyon airport – around 30 miles outside the city centre – or go from Lyon to Marne-la-Vallée, around 45km outside Paris, but cannot make the direct trip.

But from June 1 2020, a budget TGV will go direct from Lyon's central Part-Dieu station to Gare de Lyon in Paris with prices starting at €16 for adults and €8 for children.

SNCF says it will start with three routes a day and possibly look to expand.

When France's famous high speed TGV network was first launched 38 years ago, Paris to Lyon was the first route and it remains one of the busiest lines on the French network.

By expanding the low-cost option to Lyon, SNCF hopes to make the rail network more accessible to people on low incomes – and also head off competition from Spanish and Italian budget rail operators who have plans to take on the Lyon to Paris route. 

The cities of Bordeaux, Rennes, Strasbourg and Marseille already have a direct Ouigo link to Paris.

SNCF launched Ouigo in 2013 in an attempt to lure customers away from cheap domestic flights.

The trains travel on many of the same routes as the more expensive TGV InOui and travel at the same speed but are more basic – with no dining car, wifi or first class options. When the service first began it frequently only took passengers to the outskirts of the big cities, but it is now gradually expanding its direct routes. It carried 18 million passengers in 2018.



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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.