It’s been a long time – 30 months to be precise – but Trenitalia has today finally open its Paris-Milan venture for booking.

The twice-daily Frecciarossa 1000 service launches on December 18.

The Paris (Lyon) – Milan (Centrale) service has departures in both directions in the early morning and the mid-afternoon.

Fares for Paris-Milan lead-in at €29 one-way and certainly when I checked Trenitalia’s site a short time ago there was ample availability for tickets priced between the former and €39 one-way.

Wisely in these uncertain times Trenitalia is making its lowest fares relatively flexible.

Tickets can be changed before departure (although customers must pay any higher fare if applicable) and tickets can be cancelled until departure for a fee of 20 per cent.

It would seem this is the train’s ‘soft phase’. Now is a slack time of year for corporate travel. One would expect the full premium product to be made available in the new year.

Besides basic standard class (branded Serenita) there is business and executive class.

Journey time for Paris-Milan varies between around six hours 35 minutess and seven hours.

There will be several en route stops with Lyon and Turin being the most notable.

Frecciarossa scores over SNCF’s TGV service by being able to use the high-speed (HS) line within Italy. SNCF’s TGVs are not certified for HS in Italy and must use classic lines, so journey times are slightly longer.

And Frecciarossa serves Milan Centrale, which is more convenient than SNCF which operates into Porta Garibaldi.

For its part SNCF says it will respond with project “Riposte.”

SNCF competes with Trenitalia with project “Riposte”

Says ALLRAIL (who represents rail newcomers) “Rather than colluding, Trenitalia will compete against the French incumbent. This is the right way to grow EU cross-border rail.

“Over the past decade, international co-operation between state-owned incumbents has failed to deliver.”

At this stage some readers will ask whether it will be possible to travel London-Milan in a day by train.

Yes this can be accomplished by taking the early service from either end of the route.

But note that as Eurostar and Trenitalia are rivals a single through ticket is impossible at this time. Separate tickets will be needed.