Having opened up the Spanish rail market to competition Renfe had expected something in return from France.
Readers will have seen last week’s launch of Ouigo in Spain, which is appropriate in this European Year of Rail as the EU wants to encourage competition between the operators.
Now the Spanish media is reporting that national operator Renfe is hoping France will grant reciprocal rights which would enable it to compete with SNCF within France.
Renfe had hoped to operate a couple of regional routes in 2023 before extending services to Paris. But that date has been put back to at least 2024.
In any case Renfe would need approval from France’s rail regulator Arafer and so far the latter has not responded.
All Rail Alliance notes that Renfe is not receiving fair and reciprocal treatment when entering the French high-speed market.
Well this is interesting:
Spanish incumbent Renfe says it is not receiving fair & reciprocal treatment when entering French high speed market
— ALLRAIL Alliance of Rail New Entrants in Europe (@ALLRAIL_EU) May 12, 2021
Now back to Spain. On June 23 Renfe will compete against SNCF’s Ouigo with its Avlo.
Avlo’s tickets will be sold at budget prices. Spain’s Diari La Republica Checa has tweeted a photo of one of Avlo’s trains under test.
— 𝔻𝕚𝕒𝕣𝕚 𝕃𝕒 ℝ𝕖𝕡ú𝕓𝕝𝕚𝕔𝕒 ℂ𝕙𝕖𝕔𝕒 (@DiariRepCheca) May 13, 2021
Avlo is a loco-hauled Talgo train which, compared to the duplex TGVs deployed by Ouigo, does not appear so impressive.
Only time will tell which product is more favoured by travellers.