Last June we reported on Thello’s plans to compete with France’s SNCF on the business route Milan-Turin-Paris Lyon.
News has now emerged that Trenitalia (Thello being its subsidiary) is currently testing in the Lyon region, with an expected launch this summer.
Trenitalia will operate one of its Frecciarossa trains for the planned service which, if approved by Arafer (France’s rail regulator), would start on June 14.
Because Arafer’s approval is awaited Trenitalia cannot yet operate its Frecciarossa trainsets further into France.
Planned schedules call for a twice daily service with departures from Milan and Paris being in the morning and afternoon. No tariffs are currently available.
If Thello is approved to operate daytime services over France’s high-speed line it will mark a development in European rail competition which the European Union wishes to encourage.
More competition will be seen later this year. In December SNCF intends to compete with Spain’s Renfe on a domestic high-speed line or lines.
SNCF will be operating its budget brand Ouigo and, as previously reported, this has prompted Renfe to launch a rival budget service branded Avlo from April.