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France's SNCF to offer high-speed passenger links in Italy

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
France's SNCF to offer high-speed passenger links in Italy
An SNCF personnel stands by a TGV (high speed train) at the railway station in Bordeaux, southwestern France in November 2021 (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP)

French national rail operator SNCF said on Wednesday it planned to offer high-speed passenger services in neighbouring Italy from 2026, competing with rival Trenitalia on its home turf.

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"Italy is a natural market for high speed, with 56 million passengers per year," said Alain Krakovitch, head of intercity TGV (high-speed train) services at SNCF Voyageurs.

"But it's a market that's yet to mature, with many passengers still to bring in."

SNCF plans eventually to offer nine daily return services between Turin, Milan, Rome and Naples, as well as four Turin-Venice trains.

The French heavyweight moved into Spain with intercity services in 2021, and has seen Trenitalia itself look to pick up business in France on the profitable Paris-Lyon line.

SNCF hopes to claim 15 percent of the Italian high-speed market within a decade, or 10 million passengers per year.

In Spain, it has built its passenger base to 20 percent with its low-cost Ouigo service.

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European business already accounts for one-third of SNCF's annual high-speed revenues, or €3 billion.

The publicly owned firm is also responding to explosive demand for rail travel at home in France.

READ MORE: MAP: Where high-speed trains can take you in France

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