11 December marked the start of commercial services on the LGV Rhin-Rhône line, offering up to 11 million passengers a new TGV rail service composed of major domestic and international routes.
The LGV Rhin-Rhône is France’s first province-to-province high speed line that is not centered around Paris. The line connects a number of France’s tourist regions to the French and European high speed network. The 140km line from Dijon to Mulhouse will provide two new routes: Paris-Mulhouse and Strasbourg-Lyon-Midi. Passengers will benefit from shorter journeys (from 20 minutes to over 1hr 30 minutes depending on the route), increased frequency of services between the main stations served and greater comfort thanks to new or upgraded rolling stock.
The LGV Rhin-Rhône line will also include two new stations: Besançon Franche-Comté TGV and Belfort-Montbéliard TGV, as well as the upgraded existing stations of Besançon Viotte, Dijon and Mulhouse.
With regard to rolling stock, trainsets from the TGV Sud Est fleet will be completely refurbished within the next four years and will feature the new TGV livery (white, red and black), a new interior design and new facilities. These revamped and refurbished trainsets will gradually be introduced into the TGV fleet at a rate of 15 units a month.
On 11 December, TGV Lyria placed the first of the double-deck Euro Duplex trainsets in service on the international Paris-Zurich routes. These trainsets are compliant with the latest European standards for interoperability and offer new levels of comfort and accessibility. The Euro Duplex will gradually be rolled out on all the Paris-Zurich routes as and when deliveries are made by Alstom, as well as on the Frankfurt-Marseille route which will begin operating services from late March 2012.
SNCF has invested nearly €1.2 billion in trainsets and stations for the successful operation of the TGV Rhin-Rhône line and to improve customer satisfaction.