After months of speculation SNCF has decided on Ouigo for the brand name of its foray into Spain.
The news was announced yesterday by Ouigo’s director general Stephane Rapebach.
— Stephane Rapebach (@SRapebach_SNCF) September 22, 2020
As previously reported by Business Traveller, France’s national rail operator was approved to operate HS (high-speed) trains in the Spanish domestic market.
It means Spain will follow Italy by opening its HS network to competition. For several years already Italy has allowed open access Italo to compete with national operator Trenitalia.
However there will be some changes.
SNCF was expected to launch its Spanish Ouigo this coming December.
Now SNCF is saying the launch will be postponed until March 15 next year.
À partir du 15 mars 2021, nos trains desserviront dans un premier temps Barcelone et Madrid, via Tarragone et Saragosse. En attendant d’autres villes 🚄 pic.twitter.com/T0MJcA7Huw
— SNCF (@SNCF) September 22, 2020
The plan had been for SNCF to operate more than one route initially.
Now SNCF has decided it will initially operate just a single route: Barcelona-Madrid via Tarragone and Saragosse.
Les Echos reports SNCF will be basing no fewer than 14 double-deck TGVs in Spain and these will gradually extend the network to cover Valencia and Malaga by 2023.
SNCF will aggressively market tickets when sales open at 1800 (local) on September 24.
It says the first 10,000 seats will be sold for Euros 1.