We have reported many times on Ouigo’s launch within Spain and how it is transforming rail travel within that country.
Now comes news from France that SNCF wants to take Ouigo to Italy where it would compete with national operator Trenitalia and private Italo.
Under a plan called “Allegro project”, Leparisien.fr reports that Ouigo would operate the new TGV-M units from April 2026.
TGV-M are still being certified for mainline use. They are not currently in commercial service and they represent the future of high-speed (HS) rail in Europe.
Initial plans call for Ouigo to operate up to nine round-trips a day Milan-Rome with another four round-trips Turin-Venice.
It’s an ambitious plan considering Italy was the first European country to allow domestic rail competition on a grand scale. But I can understand why SNCF believes Ouigo could succeed in Italy.
Both Trenitalia and Italo operate modern HS trains and rail experts claim their products are superior to SNCF’s existing domestic TGVs.
The Italian operators cater to the high revenue market (there are lower fares too), whereas Ouigo is a one-class budget operator which almost entirely emulates LCCs (low-cost carriers).
Therefore Ouigo would attract cost-conscious customers and especially the many millions of tourists who travel between the main cities.
I also suspect SNCF is displeased with Trenitalia’s success on the Paris-Lyon-Milan route.
Trenitalia has captured customers from SNCF because its Frecciarossa 1000 trains are not only superior but they also offer a shorter Paris-Milan journey time (as they can use Italian HS tracks whereas the current TGVs cannot).
However many rail users lament that SNCF has not yet introduced Ouigo on the busy Paris-London route (perhaps using a few Alstom units which Eurostar still possesses).
Back in 2018 Getlink mooted such a service as we reported at the time.
Last year we reviewed the Ouigo service from Paris to Toulouse: