Ouigo started life as a TGV service operating over high-speed (HS) lines at budget prices.
It’s no secret that SNCF modelled Ouigo after the business plan of LCCs (low-cost airlines).
Now in an effort to compete further with budget operators SNCF will launch a conventional Ouigo next month.
Branded Ouigo Classic its initial two routes will be from Paris to Lyon and Nantes.
Quand on vous disait qu’il serait rose, on ne vous avait pas menti. 😇
RDV le 11 avril pour voir circuler OUIGO Train Classique entre Paris-Nantes et Paris-Lyon. #OUIGOTrainClassique #SNCF pic.twitter.com/EFu6jceMXw
— OUIGO (@OUIGO) March 11, 2022
One-way fares vary from €10 to a maximum of €30.
When you visit ouigo.com you will find many trains displayed. Some are Ouigo TGV (described as offering “Great Speed” or “Grande Vitesse” at 300 km/h) whereas the few “Train Classique” (or Classic trains) displayed say “Travel easy at 160 km/h.”
Note that Ouigo Classic trains to Nantes depart from Paris Austerlitz and do the HS services. But for Lyon the departure point for Ouigo Classic is Bercy rather than Paris Lyon.
There are many more Ouigo Classic trains operating to Nantes than to Lyon and these cover a lot of calling points en route.
Paris-Lyon is already swamped with HS services.
If you refer to our piece from September 2021 you will see details of the routes and possible calling points.
Personally I believe SNCF deserves praise for what it has done with its Ouigo brands. My one gripe is that Ouigo’s livery does little for the distinctive lines of SNCF’s locomotive.
Yes I realise that locomotive is somewhat long in the tooth but here is how it appeared in its younger days. See the tweet from rail journalist Ben Jones:
Seconded. Although I’d favour the Gran Confort livery over Ouigo pink! pic.twitter.com/7Ai94hFoFT
— Ben Jones (@FlywheelMedia1) March 11, 2022
High-speed Ouigo has been a success for SNCF and its network has been extended throughout much of France. It competes with SNCF’s regular TGV network where fares are higher.
Will Ouigo Classic prove likewise?