Germany’s Flixtrain had intended to operate open access service in France as we reported in June 2019.
It had planned a Paris-Nice night train along with daytime services on key routes like Paris to Brussels, Lyon, Bordeaux and Toulouse.
Flixtrain planned to undercut incumbent SNCF by operating conventional trains over classic lines which meant it would avoid having to pay high fees to use France’s TGV network.
As SNCF has discovered a good number of travellers have turned against its classic TGVs with their high fares.
This prompted to introduce its budget TGV called Ouigo which has proved popular and especially with millennials.
Alas, Flixtrain’s arrival in France will not happen anytime soon.
France’s Les Echos reports that “Flixtrain has decided to postpone indefinitely its launch of trains in the French market which had initially been planned for 2021.”
Flixtrain is a member of Allrail (EU). And on this occasion Flixtrain’s decision is related to the high costs of using France’s rail infrastructure.
Quoted by Les Echos, France’s GM for Flixtrain Yvan Lefranc-Morin said “The main obstacle we see is the cost of infrastructure in France compared to other European markets.”
Although Flixtrain indicates it may change its mind were costs to fall in the future.
An English summary can be found on Vernon Baseley’s Outre Manche.
France’s SNCF still intends to compete against Renfe with an open access HS (high-speed) services in Spain.
Italy’s Trenitalia plans to operate HS service from Milan to Paris in competition with SNCF’s TGVs. It still awaits a decision from Arafer the French rail regulator.