SNCF says this is the first piggyback service to operate in Spain, and it will use the Perpignan - Barcelona standard-gauge line, avoiding the need to change gauge at the Spanish border. The new service will operate five times per week initially, rising to six per week in April. The 1219km trip will take about 22 hours including a stop in Perpignan.

The Lohr system of transversal loading and unloading allows the transport of all types of European lorry semi-trailer by rail.

Fifth VIIA route

This is the fifth piggyback service to operate under the VIIA brand. The other four comprise:

  • Aiton (Chambéry) - Turin Orbassano opened in 2003
  • Bettembourg - Le Boulou (Perpignan) opened in 2007
  • Calais - Le Boulou opened in 2016, and
  • Calais - Turin Orbassano opened in 2018.

Last year, VIIA piggyback services carried 106,615 semi-trailers saving an estimated 80,000 tonnes of CO2.