SNCF: two potential competitors on the main routes at the end of 2020



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As Jean Ghédira, director of the SNCF Réseau, told reporters at a meeting with the leadership of the Strasbourg group, the company would talk to two railway operators that could arrive at the unburdened French market, high-speed trains that are over open to competition in 2020.

We have the keys that we hope will come true. (…) We have two keys, "explained the general manager of the clients and services of SNCF Réseau.

These competitors of SNCF would open their services from the opening of the market for unauthorized main routes in "open access" to the 2021 service – specifically in December 2020, – he said.

In terms of SNCF Réseau, several trains run on French rails. Therefore, Jean Guédira visited operators who might be interested, he has no right to say who these prospects are – and especially SNCF Mobilités, a branch of the group that drives trains.

"There are things that happen, but not necessarily where we obviously expected," he said.

Training hypothesis?

Directly concerned, the head of SNCF (and SNGF Mobilités), Guillaume Pepy, promised not to know who these two options are, although he suspected that it was Italian Trenitalia.

"In fact, the fact that Jean Ghedira pulls our enemies will still lead more passengers to the French rail network, so the cake will grow," he said.

"After the fight between the railway companies on the cake, this is our task," added Guillaume Pepy.

Trenitalia, which already has classic trains under the trademark Thello between France and Italy, announced that it will enter the French high-speed market. In the second register we can mention the German FlixBus, which runs classic long distance trains in Germany and is interested in the French market.

New prices?

SNCF Réseau says it is dealing with "more commercial and more stimulating" prices. It is also about rapidly gaining a better visibility of future tolls, tolls considered to be the circulation of trains currently being scrutinized in order to promote, in particular, the services of medium-sized cities by TGV.

"The goal is very clear that we can show them in advance so that potential participants know what they have to do," said Jean Guédira.

"Three-year visibility is planned," said Patrick Jeantet, CEO of SNCF Réseau.

Regarding TER terminals for which regions can conclude a contract with non-SNCF contractors to operate their lines from December 2019, the first competitors are expected to arrive at service 2022, that is December 2021, Jean Ghédira said.

According to him, the most advanced regions are PACA, Grand Est and Pays-de-la-Loire.

At the same time, the government started opening the Intercités market in order to launch a new operator in the Nantes-Lyon and Nantes-Bordeaux routes in 2022.

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