Franco-Swiss high-speed operator TGV Lyria will increase capacity by 30 per cent starting this December.

TGV Lyria operates high-speed trains linking Paris Lyon with the Swiss destinations of Geneva, Zurich, Lausanne and Basel.

France’s Le Monde reports that TGV Lyria is keen to take advantage of the recent “flight shame” movement and hopes to see a shift of passengers from air to rail.

TGV Lyria is following in the footsteps of Eurostar/Thalys (as we reported last Friday) and that of Deutsche Bahn, which will cut its rail fares (especially those of its long distance ICE mainline services) owing to Germany’s planned VAT reduction for rail fares.

It’s a bold move by TGV Lyria and one that’s being made at short notice.

Train companies are conservative. They would normally give much more notice for schedule changes of this magnitude.

Le Monde says “TGV Lyria has chosen to take a risk from the end of this year to compete with the plane. The Franco-Swiss company is prepared to increase capacity by 30 per cent to its offer of high-speed links between Paris and the main Swiss cities.”

“The number of places TGV Lyria provides daily will increase from 13,500 to 18,000 by 2020 with the initial increase seen from December 15.”

TGV Lyria is a joint operation by SNCF of France (74 per cent) and SBB of Switzerland (26 per cent).

Journey times from Paris to Switzerland  by TGV Lyria start at just over three hours, making them competitive with air.

Quoted by Le Monde,  Fabien Soulet the CEO of TGV Lyria, said “I am convinced that the climate issues and the awareness of individuals of their carbon footprint will transform the market.”

“In Switzerland, in particular, the concern is strong.”

This was seen in the Swiss capital of Berne last Saturday when France’s media reported 100,000 turned out “to walk for the climate”.

By adding more seats TGV Lyria expects to see a 25 per cent increase in passengers.

UK-based readers will find that by linking Eurostar with TGV Lyria it’s feasible to take the train between London and Switzerland in a day.

However rail fares will invariably cost more than air (especially if using Easyjet), and when you reach Paris a change of terminus is necessary between Nord and Lyon.