Westbahn plans to launch its first service in December on the Vienna - Salsburg route, Austria's most important rail corridor, in competition with Austrian Federal Railways' (ÖBB) Railjet service. Westbahn will use a fleet of seven double-deck trains supplied by Stadler.

SNCF will provide Westbahn with its operating and online ticket sales expertise, and is part of a strategy to conclude partnerships with what it describes as "quality European railway enterprises." SNCF already has a similar arrangement with NTV in Italy.

"In the European railway market, which is becoming more and more integrated and liberated, our stake in Rail Holding illustrates perfectly SNCF's strategy of internationally-targeted growth," says SNCF's president Mr Guillaume Pepy.
Photo: David Gubler