Readers will have seen our recent piece which describes the product to be offered by Trenitalia France later this year.

We now know that SNCF has already responded.

France’s national rail operator has upgraded its product on the main business route linking Paris with Lyon.

Alain Krakovitch, MD of SNCF Voyages, reveals that one extra class has been added: Business Première.

Previously Business Première has been offered only on SNCF’s prime international services such as Eurostar, TGV Lyria and Thalys.

I believe it’s the first time this top product has been made available on a domestic route.

So what do you get for the higher fare? The main benefits are:

  • Lounge access at Paris (Lyon) with a dedicated area set aside
  • Personalised service onboard with at-seat meal service
  • One price ticket and flexibility on the same day of travel

However I suspect the benefit most appreciated will be SNCF’s superior service frequency on the route, compared to Trenitalia’s three daily trains.

Paris-Lyon is one of SNCF’s most important routes. It’s where the original TGV started life 40 years ago and it will see TGV-M when launched.

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So how much more does Business Première cost in relation to first class?

I checked with on a selection of one-way fares on Tuesday afternoon for travel on October 25. Journey time Paris-Lyon is around two hours.

On the 0728 train Business Première (first fully-flexible) cost £122.50 with first class (first semi-flexible) priced at £81.50. Taking the 1244 train would cost £122.50 and £93.50 respectively.

So the price difference will vary depending on time of day, day of the week. Remember that Business Première is sold at a fixed price.