Yesterday Italy’s rail media announced that Trenitalia was planning to operate a direct HS (high-speed) service linking the capitals of Spain and France.

If Trenitalia’s application is approved by France’s rail regulator, the service would start at the end of 2024. Why so long you may ask?

Well, as I have explained many times before, the rail industry is slow-moving. Last time Trenitalia applied to operate its trains within France, it took rail regulator Arafer a full two years before approval was granted.

If approved Trenitalia would operate one of its Frecciarossa 1000 units from Madrid to Barcelona and then on to Paris Lyon.

It would use HS lines throughout.

Quoted by Italy’s Ferrovie, Luigi Ferraris CEO of FS (Italian Rail) said:

“There is a plan and we are working on it. We could see this dream realised by the end of 2024.”

Trenitalia already operates domestic services in Spain under the Iryo banner.

Since December 2021 Trenitalia has been operating Paris-Milan in competition with France’s SNCF.

Trenitalia’s Frecciarossa finally reaches Paris

Its Frecciarossa trains have found favour with customers and one must note that this service is also allowed to carry passengers between Paris and Lyon.

To compete with Frecciarossa on the above route, SNCF introduced its Business Premier class – note that this is the only domestic service that has this class.

Currently there is no direct rail service between Madrid and Paris. Travellers taking the HS service must change in Barcelona.

There was an overnight Talgo train which took the classic lines between the two capitals, but it was withdrawn some years ago and Renfe (Spanish rail) has now leased the Talgo night train to Turkish rail.

We await developments with interest.