Thirty years after the opening of the first high speed line between Paris and Lyon, the inauguration of the Rhine-Rhone high speed line, attended by President of the French Republic Nicolas Sarkozy together with SNCF President Guillaume Pepy and RFF President Hubert du Mesnil, on Thursday 8 September, marks a new chapter in TGV history and a new step forward in the history of rail transport in France and Europe. In addition to 140 km of new line, the whole of the existing network in eastern France will be reconfigured to provide several million passengers with a new TGV service with links to the rest of France and Europe. Customers will be able to make the most of this commercial innovation from 11 December 2011, when the line opens for revenue service.
Once the 140 km of high speed line between Dijon and Mulhouse open on 11 December, SNCF intends to launch two new long-distance TGV routes using this and a second high speed line: the Paris-Lyon line as far as Montbard on the one hand, and the Lyon-Mediterranean route on the other. Passengers will thus benefit from a new service between Paris and provincial France, with the line to Dijon now extending towards the north of the Franche-Comté, South Alsace and German-speaking Switzerland, as well as a host of new cross-country services between the eastern and south-eastern regions of France.
As a vital link in the European high speed system, the new line will bring a considerable number of French regions (in particular Burgundy, the Franche-Comté, Alsace and Rhône-Alpes) closer to other parts of Europe (direct links to Germany, German- and French-speaking Switzerland as well as Spain, Great Britain and Belgium via connecting services).
No fewer than 11 million passengers are to benefit from the new TGV Rhine-Rhone services.
(Source: SNCF press)