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Travel: €10 tickets go on sale for France’s new slow train service

Some 60,000 tickets have been snapped up for SNCF's two-year trial of low-cost slow train services between Paris and Lyon and Paris and Nantes, which started running on Monday.

A train at Paris Austerlitz railway station
Ouigo Classique services will operate between Paris Austerlitz and Lyon (Photo: Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt / AFP)

The Paris-Nantes route offers three daily return trips, for a travel time of between 3 hours 30 minutes and 4 hour 15, compared with 2 hours 20 on a TGV.

The Paris-Lyon route, meanwhile, has two daily round trips, with a travel time of between 4 hours 45 and 5 hours 15, compared to two hours by TGV.

Tickets for the trial Ouigo Classique service cost between €10 and €30 – and €5 for under-12s – and are being offered as an ultra low-price alternative to Inoui and Ouigo TGV services.

And tens of thousands of tickets have already been snapped up, as travellers with time to kill took advantage of the low prices, suggesting that there are many people out there who are happy to take a little extra time to travel from A to B if they are able to do so.

SNCF has said the trial will run for two years, after which it will decide whether to continue the service.

READ ALSO OPINION: France’s ‘slow train’ revolution may just be the future for travel

In return for the ability to enjoy more of the French countryside for longer, passengers on the slow, low-frills service will travel on older Corail trains, which date back to the 1980s. They have been given a fresh coat of pink paint and spruced up inside, but have not been modernised.

This means that there are few electrical outlets and no wifi, so it’s probably not an ideal mode of transport for commuters or business travellers. On the other hand, those on a budget and with time on their hands may find it very useful.

And SNCF Voyageurs subsidiary Oslo, which is running the new venture, has promised to look again at interior renovation if the services prove a success.

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UKRAINE

France to build new floating terminal to ensure gas supplies this winter

The French government aims to have its natural gas storage reserves at full capacity by autumn, with European countries bracing for supply cuts from major supplier Russia as the Ukraine war continues, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Thursday

France to build new floating terminal to ensure gas supplies this winter

“We are ensuring the complete filling of our storage capacities, aiming to be close to 100 percent by early autumn,” and France will also build a new floating methane terminal to receive more energy supplies by ship, Borne said.

France is much less dependant on Russian gas than its neighbours, and announced earlier this week that it has not received any Russian gas by pipeline since June 15th.

Meanwhile Germany moved closer to rationing natural gas on Thursday as it raised the alert level under an emergency plan after Russia slashed supplies to the country.

“Gas is now a scarce commodity in Germany,” Economy Minister Robert Habeck told reporters at a press conference.

French PM Borne on Thursday also confirmed that the bouclier tarifaire (price shield) will remain in pace until the end of 2022 – this freezes the price of household gas and limits rises in electricity bills for homes to four percent.

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