ITALIAN State Railways (FS) passenger subsidiary Trenitalia has opened reservations for its Paris - Turin - Milan service which will launch on December 18, becoming France’s first open-access high-speed passenger service. The service will carry domestic French passengers as well as international travellers.

The new service will operate twice daily between Paris Gare de Lyon and Milan Central with a 6h 40min journey time, and will also serve Lyon Part Dieu, Chambéry, Modane and Torino Porta Susa, the latter under six hours from Paris.

Trenitalia will compete directly with French National Railways’ (SNCF) twice-daily service, which services Lyon Saint Exupéry, an out-of-city airport station, and terminates at Milan Porta Garibaldi. SNCF’s service takes around 30 minutes longer than Trenitalia’s as the 1990s TGV Réseau trains are not equipped to operate over the high speed-line between Turin and Milan.

Trenitalia will operate the service using five eight-car Bombardier/Hitachi ETR 400 high-speed sets equipped to operate into France and marketed as Frecciarossa 1000. The trains will provide four levels of service: standard, a basic service at a competitive price; business, a standard first class; executive, an exclusive service with small numbers of large, comfortable seats; and Sala Meeting, a conference room for up to five people.

Both standard and business classes will have quiet coaches. Standard tickets start at €23 for Paris - Lyon and €29 for Paris - Milan, while business fares start at €29 and €36 respectively. Executive fares start at €139 and €165. Sala Meeting fares vary, starting at €79 if five people are booked into the room. Each train has a bistro car which can serve meals and snacks that can also be ordered to a seat through the Frecce portal.

Tickets are initially only available on the Trenitalia website, from offices at Paris Gare de Lyon, and Lyon Part Dieu, at stations throughout Italy and through selected agents.

Trenitalia operated passenger trains in France through its Thello subsidiary since 2011. The Paris - Venice overnight train was suspended on March 10 2020 due to the Covid pandemic and was officially wound up on July 1. The daytime Milan - Genoa - Nice - Marseille train was also officially withdrawn on July 1, having already been reduced in frequency and cut back to operate only between Milan and Nice. The last trains actually ran between Milan and Nice on June 29 and Nice - Milan on June 30.