Trenitalia seeks more business in France

Trenitalia seeks more business in France

EUROPE: Open access company Trenitalia France, a subsidiary of Italy’s national passenger operator, is investigating options for high speed services from Paris to destinations such as Genova, Marseille and Madrid. It is also to consolidate its offer between the French capital and Lyon, where it is evaluating options to attract more business class traffic.

Since August 2023 the company has been unable to offer a direct service between Paris and Milano in northern Italy because of the landslide near Saint-André in the Maurienne valley in Savoie, where 15 000 m3 of fallen rock blocked the Chambéry Modane main line. SNCF Réseau said at the end of March that the line will not reopen until November.

Trenitalia France launched operations in December 2021 with two daily return Paris – Milano trips in competition with SNCF’s TGV Inoui service. Using a fleet of five ETR1000 trainsets adapted to run in France, it added three daily round trips between Paris and Lyon in April 2022, and by the end of 2023 it had carried 2 million passengers, according to Marketing & Commercial Director of Trenitalia France Fabrice Toledano.

Regular maintenance of the ETR1000 fleet had been carried out at the depot at Milano Martesana, but after the landslide this was no longer possible. Trenitalia and Hitachi Rail staff then moved to France to maintain the trainsets at the Technicentre Sud-Est Européen run by SNCF Voyageurs in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, southeast of Paris.

Speaking in Paris on March 25, President of Trenitalia France Marco Caposciutti, who was appointed in January this year, said that the company’s main objective for 2024 was to consolidate the offer on the Paris – Lyon route where it is now running five return trains a day; an additional service will run during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in late July and early August.

Later this year four more ETR1000 trainsets will join the five already in France, paving the way for capacity to be stepped up once approval is granted for multiple-unit operation of pairs of sets.

A major target for Trenitalia France is to increase the number of business passengers, which Toledano says account for 44% of tickets sold. Passengers can book in executive or business class with seats in a quiet area; these were more in demand in France than in Italy. The company has also launched a ‘Trenitalia Pro’ service for business travellers which offers a flexible Serenità Pro tariff.

Caposciutti noted that it was possible to convert the interior of a business class coach to standard class or vice versa, depending on demand, affirming that the company’s overall aim was to promote all rail traffic and not merely compete against SNCF Voyageurs.

For the moment, no decisions have been taken on future routes, which will depend on demand forecasts and the availability of paths. In the meantime the company is supporting plans put forward by sister subsidiary FS Treni Turistici Italiani, which wants to launch a service from Milano to the Côte d’Azur in 2025. This would be operated by Trenitalia France between the border at Ventimiglia and French destinations.

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