The German railway company Deutsche Bahn and its French counterpart SNCF are planning a fast and direct train connection between the capitals of Berlin and Paris from the end of 2023.
The companies plan to provide a daily round trip between Paris and Berlin, via the German city of Frankfurt, as a fast direct connection between the two capitals makes sense, according to Deutsche Bahn CEO Richard Lutz.
"The high-speed traffic between Germany and France is an outstanding example of how attractive connections promote cross-border rail traffic," he said. "I firmly believe in the great potential of the railways in and for Europe. Our planned new direct connection between the hearts of our two capitals will inspire even more people to travel by train."
SNCF President Jean-Pierre Farandou stated that people are taking the train for longer and longer routes. "Some people are willing to sit on a train for five, six, seven hours," he said, adding that Paris-Berlin is a seven-hour journey.
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"A few years ago we thought that was a long time, and we feared that we would not be able to get anyone excited about this," Farandou said. Today, he called the occupancy rate on the Paris-Milan and Paris-Barcelona trains "astonishing."
Previously, the Austrian railway company ÖBB announced that it will also be operating a Paris-Berlin night train from the end of 2023, and talks are also underway about further high-speed connections between Germany and destinations in the south of France.
On Tuesday, Lutz and Farandou attended a ceremony to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the existing high-speed connections between Germany and France, and stated that the country's partnership has benefited some 25 million travellers over the past 15 years.
Today, six trains per day already run between Frankfurt and Paris, and five between Stuttgart and Paris, one of which runs to and from Munich. A train between Frankfurt and Marseille has also been operated every day for 10 years now.
The connection between Cologne (Germany) and Paris, via Brussels, will remain the exclusive domain of SNCF subsidiary company Thalys.