Deutsche Bahn planning high-speed trains to southern France and UK
German national rail provider Deutsche Bahn plans to expand its long-haul offerings to include foreign destinations such as southern France and the UK, the company said on Friday.
“We want to widen our cooperative venture with the French national railway,” Deutsche Bahn head Rüdiger Grube told daily Die Welt.
A new route will provide a direct high-speed connection to southern France’s Lyon and Marseille beginning in 2012, Grube told the paper. The German rail service and France's SNCF already work together on lines that run between Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Paris.
A route to London for Deutsche Bahn’s high-speed ICE trains is also underway.
“According to our analysis, there are 1.1 million potential passengers in the Rhine-Main region for this route,” Grube said.
The Deutsche Bahn chief also criticised the English Channel rail link tunnel, colloquially known as the Chunnel, which connects France and Britain.
“The current problem is that there are significant admission restrictions for our trains. The ICE 3, the most modern train there is, can go through every Alpine tunnel, but isn’t allowed in the Eurotunnel,” he said.
But the company is in talks with Eurotunnel officials and plans to find a solution soon, he added.
Meanwhile Deutsche Bahn also plans to launch an offensive against growing competition from the expanding long-haul bus business in Germany.
Should regulators decide to open the bus market, which is currently hindered by laws that prevent competition with Deutsche Bahn, the train company will bolster its offerings.
“There are plans to acquire additional buses,” Grube said.