THE launch in 2023 of a high-speed service between Paris and Berlin was announced on May 24 by Mr Jean-Pierre Farandou, president and CEO of French National Railways (SNCF), and Mr Richard Lutz, chairman of German Rail (DB).

SNCF and DB are currently studying the extension of the existing Paris - Frankfurt service operated with DB ICE high-speed trains, which would offer a journey time of around 7 hours from Paris to Berlin.

The two operators say that passengers are increasingly willing to make longer rail journeys to avoid flying. Their joint Frankfurt - Marseille service operated with an SNCF TGV Duplex train offers a journey time of 7h 48min, for example.

In the 15 years since the opening of the first section of the LGV Est high-speed line between Paris and Strasbourg, high-speed services operated by the Alleo joint venture of DB and SNCF have carried 25 million passengers.

In 2021 more than 50% of passengers on the Frankfurt - Paris route opted for rail, with an even bigger proportion choosing the train between Stuttgart and Paris.

DB and SNCF currently offer five return trips a day between Paris and Stuttgart with a journey time of 3h 9min, and six return trips between Paris and Frankfurt, reached via Strasbourg in 3h 38min, and via Forbach in 3h 49min.

There is also one return journey a day between Paris and Munich where the journey time is 5h 37min.