The joint venture between Transdev and Trenitalia says it has been forced to curtail the Paris – Rome service, which was launched in 2011, because it was unable to secure train paths on 85 days in 2014. Thello CEO Mr Albert Alday told IRJ that this is due to the closure of the St Maurice tunnel near Martigny, Switzerland, for repairs as well as "poor and insufficient cooperation" between Swiss, Italian and French infrastructure managers.
To compensate for the loss of this service, Thello will increase capacity on its Paris – Venice trains and improve connections at Milan with Trenitalia Frecce services to central and southern Italy. Thello says this will reduce Paris – Rome and Paris – Florence journey times by up to an hour and also improve links between the French capital and a range of other destinations in Italy.
New fares will also be offered through the whole Thello and Trenitalia sales network, which covers Italy, France, and the rest of the world.
In addition, Thello is looking to expand its network with the launch of three daily direct services between Milan and Nice, one of which would continue to Toulon and Marseille. French rail regulator Araf concluded last week that these trains would not abstract revenue from TER regional services, which are operated by French National Railways (SNCF) and funded by the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regional government.
Thello says it expects to gain its own safety certificate for operations on the Italian network by the middle of next year.