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French railway giant SNCF Voyageurs to debut in Italy in 2026

By Friday, 05 July 2024 10:21
SNCF SNCF crédit - Julien Goldstein - Alstom

The French railway giant SNCF Voyageurs is due to debut in Italy in 2026, becoming a third high-speed rail player in Italy alongside Trenitalia and Italo.

The French rail company is aiming for a 15% market share by 2030

The French company - already present in nine European countries apart from France and with one third of international passengers - has applied for a 15-year agreement with RFI which is part of the Italian state railways group.  Plans are for the Turin-Naples and Turin-Venice routes, with the new services to be operated by the Italian subsidiary SNCF Voyages Italia with the aim of doubling the number of passengers in Europe over the next ten years, in particular on the Italian market, and achieving a 15% market share by 2030.

Serving 10 Italian cities for now

SNCF Voyageurs will debut with up to 13 daily round trips on two routes: 9 round trips between Turin, Milan, Rome and Naples, and four round trips between Turin and Venice. The following cities will be served: Turin, Milan, Brescia, Verona, Padua, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples. The company confirms that it is open to future extension to other destinations, including Southern Italy, as soon as the infrastructure permits.

Latest-generation double-decker trains 

The 15 TGVM trainsets, which will be technically adapted to the Italian infrastructure, will come from a fleet of trains produced in 2022. In addition, a further 15 latest-generation double-decker trains will run on the Italian network. SNCF has been present in Italy since 1995 with the Artesia service, and since 2011 with the cross-border TGV Inoui service, which operates daily between Milan, Turin and Paris.

“There will be one more competitor, but we are ready”  

“We are already ready,- says Luigi Corradi, CEO and general manager of Trenitalia. -Our service is recognized as excellent. We also have a train that runs between Milan and Paris and the French themselves recognize the real difference in the service we offer on the Frecciarossa. Clearly there will be one more competitor, but we are ready.”  As for possible repercussions on fare levels: “Competition in general helps customers to have different choices. I think our fares are already competitive, especially if we look at value for money.”

“Healthy competition has led to lower prices”

Fabrizio Bona, Italo's commercial director said; “It is still too early to make forecasts. For certain, the high-speed market in Italy today is managed intelligently by the two parties with very high quality and services. Healthy competition has led to lower prices and higher service levels. In the future, we will see.” 

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