ITALIAN national operator Trenitalia ran a test service on the Milan - Paris route on August 28, operating a Frecciarossa 1000 to Paris Gare de Lyon ahead of the introduction of services to the French capital.
The test run travelled from Turin, Italy, via Modane in France to Chambéry, before travelling via Aix-les-Bains, Culoz and Ambérieu to Lyon, where a 15-minute reversal was required at Lyon Part Dieu before the service continued along the Lyon - Paris high-speed line. The regular service will instead travel from Chambéry via the single-track line to Saint André-le-Gaz and on to Lyon.
The five Bombardier/Hitachi ETR 400 high-speed trains equipped for the service have already been authorised for operation in France.
Trenitalia is launching the service after withdrawing all Thello services between Italy and France at the end of June, although a launch date has yet to be set.
Two services will operate each day departing Milan Central at 05.53 and 16.07 and arriving at Paris Gare de Lyon at 12.31 and 23.17 respectively. The return services will depart Paris at 07.26 and 15.18, arriving at Milan at 14.07 and 22.07 respectively.
SNCF already operates a twice-daily TGV service between Paris and Milan using TGV Réseau sets, calling at Torino and Lyon’s Saint Exupéry airport. SNCF and Trenitalia’s services will have a similar journey time as SNCF TGVs cannot use the Turin - Milan high-speed line, adding 40 minutes, whereas the Trenitalia diversion via central Lyon adds about 20 minutes.
SNCF and Trenitalia have previously collaborated on a service between Paris and Milan. SNCF operates three daily TGVs on the route.