The French and German capitals are set to become more closely linked with the introduction of two new direct rail links – a night train starting in December 2023 and a high-speed TGV service set to begin in 2024.
At present there is no direct rail link between Paris and Berlin, but the French and German rail operators have agreed to open one, with a journey time of around seven hours.
German rail operator Deutsche Bahn in June referred to an “agreement” with France’s SNCF to favour a route via the German town of Saarbrücken, close to the border, rather than via Strasbourg and Karlsruhe.
This caused fury in Karlsruhe and Strasbourg and the towns sent a joint open letter requesting a route change. The idea was also supported by a number of MEPs and EU employees, since Strasbourg is the alternating seat of the European parliament.
But now a compromise appears to have been reached – as the night train will go via Saarbrücken and the TGV train will go via Strasbourg and Karlsruhe.
French transport minister Clément Beaune announced the agreement on Friday, saying: “Even if it takes a little longer than I would have liked, this line will go via Strasbourg.”
Le TGV Paris-Berlin passera par Strasbourg ! 🇫🇷🇪🇺🇩🇪 💪🏻
Merci à lui de son engagement précieux… pic.twitter.com/0nu3ZV1NHW
— Pierre Jakubowicz 🇫🇷🇪🇺 (@PJakubowicz) September 1, 2023
Exact start dates for either the night train or the day service are yet to be confirmed.
Announcing the link-up back in 2022, 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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