On April 5 Trenitalia France announced it would be expanding its presence on the voluminous Paris-Lyon route.

We originally covered the launch of this service last year.

Currently Trenitalia operates five trains daily out of Paris (Lyon). Two of these run through to Milan Central but three operate between Paris and Lyon only.

At a briefing for French media in Lyon it was announced that Trenitalia would be increasing Paris-Lyon itself to five services daily.

Readers who require schedule details can find them within the PDF link [in French].

Trenitalia launched its initial Paris-Lyon-Milan service on December 18.

Director general Roberto Rinaudo says that in its first three months Trenitalia carried 150,000 passengers at an average load factor of 87 per cent.

He added:

“On French territory, we have a flexible offer: our tickets are exchangeable free of charge and with a 20 per cent fee [for those wishing to cancel] up until departure.”

This must worry rival SNCF. Paris-Lyon is its busiest route for business and leisure travellers. Hence this route received SNCF’s Business Premiere class (to match what Trenitalia offers) in 2021.

SNCF upgrades Paris-Lyon product to compete with Trenitalia France

So how do I justify my claim in the headline?

It’s because there are now four operators plying the route. I agree that three operators are SNCF brands, but each competes on price and product.

These three are:

  1. SNCF’s traditional HS (high-speed) TGV
  2. SNCF budget TGV Ouigo
  3. SNCF slower, conventional train with the lowest fares. It’s called Ouigo Classic.

These are the sort of services which the EU wants to encourage with its deregulation of rail travel.

Later this year Spain will see similar competition between Madrid and Barcelona where four rivals will do battle: Trenitalia/Air Nostrum with Ilsa,  SNCF’s TGV Ouigo, Renfe’s Avlo and Renfe’s AVE.