SNCF Voyageurs, the passenger operating business of French National Railways (SNCF), has announced its intention to enter the Italian domestic high-speed market.

From 2026 its subsidiary SNCF Voyageurs Italia is planning to operate nine return services a day from Turin to Naples, calling at Milan, Bologna, Florence and Rome. Four return services a day will operate from Turin to Venice, via Milan, Brescia, Verona and Padua.

SNCF Voyageurs Italia has applied to infrastructure manager Italian Rail Network (RFI) for access rights to operate these services for 15 years.

The new services will be operated with a fleet of 15 TGV M high-speed trains, the first of which are due to be delivered in the second half of 2025 to enter service on SNCF’s Paris - Milan route. SNCF has ordered a total of 115 TGV M trains from Alstom.

By 2030 the French national operator is hoping to capture 15% of the Italian high-speed market, currently amounting to 56 million passengers a year. It says that 80% of those travelling by other modes are interested in travelling by rail.

SNCF Voyageurs Italia will compete with incumbent Trenitalia and private open-access operator Italo-NTV.

Following a landslide on the French section of the route, the Paris - Turin - Milan service operated by SNCF Voyageurs Italia is down to one train in each direction a day, with part of the journey by bus. The cross-border route via the Fréjus tunnel is not expected to reopen before November.