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Paris-Berlin high-speed train 'possible next year'

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AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Paris-Berlin high-speed train 'possible next year'
Passengers boarding a train in Berlin's main station. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Monika Skolimowska

French rail operator SNCF said Tuesday it hopes to launch a Paris-Berlin high-speed service next year with Germany's Deutsche Bahn to tap into a perceived willingness by passengers to take longer train trips.

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SNCF chief Jean-Pierre Farandou said they hoped to begin offering one trip per day between the French and German capitals in December 2023.

Several years ago, bosses did not think travellers would be willing to take a rail journey lasting up to seven hours - but that was changing, he said.

"Together with our German colleagues we're going to take a chance and launch this train," said Farandou.

READ ALSO: Trains are in fashion - so why is rail travel across Europe so difficult?

Both SNCF and Deutsche Bahn offer high-speed train services between Paris and Frankfurt, but for the moment you need to change trains to get to Berlin.

Travelling by high-speed rail results in considerably fewer emissions than by air.

German Transport Minister Volker Wissing said: "In view of the major challenges of climate change, rail must play a stronger role in intra-European transport. With the new high-speed connection Berlin-Paris, another attractive alternative to flying is on the way."

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Rail operators are also reviving night trains to lure travellers seeking to reduce the carbon imprint of their long-distance travel.

A Paris-Berlin night service is also expected to resume next year.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/XinHua | Gao Jing

More European connections?

It comes after reports emerged that rail passengers may soon be able to take a direct train from London to several cities in western Germany, including Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and Aachen, following a merger between two large rail operators.

The train route would be an extension of existing Eurostar routes that currently run from London to Brussels, Paris, Lille, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the French news site explained. 

It would be the first direct train from the UK to Germany in the history of Eurostar. 

However, Eurostar said it was still "too early" to confirm any plans for new routes.

A spokesperson for SNCF, the parent company of Eurostar Group, added that they will "study the possibility of launching new routes" but that nothing was decided yet. 

READ ALSO: Could rail passengers soon see direct trains from the UK to Germany?

 

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