Faster by TGV to Zurich?

9 Jan 2012 by BusinessTraveller

When a new 90mile stretch of high-speed line opened in France last month, the mainstream UK media claimed it would “unlock dramatic time savings” for Zurich-bound train passengers.

The new stretch of TGV Rhine-Rhone line starts near Dijon (France’s mustard capital) and ends near Mulhouse, close to the Swiss border.

The time savings ring true for those passengers starting their trips in Paris but it’s of little or no advantage to passengers travelling right through from London.

Why? Although the Paris-Zurich journey time is speeded up by 30 mins to take around four hours the TGV’s now depart from Paris Lyon (on the other side of the capital) instead of Paris Est (which is adjacent to Paris Nord, the arrival point of Eurostar).

In other words, the 30 mins time saving is cancelled out by the extra 30 mins or so it takes to transfer between Paris Nord and Paris Lyon.

The fastest journey from London St Pancras takes just under eight hours (allow nine hours outbound because of the time difference) and is of little use for anyone travelling on business. The first train departs London at 0540 which, with 66 mins to change in Paris does not reach Zurich until 1426.

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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