THE French government handed a report to parliament on May 20, the same day as reintroduction of the Paris - Nice overnight service, on the potential of introducing new cross-country inter-regional train services and overnight trains. 

In the case of daytime trains, the report examined the potential for eight daytime routes and identified three routes for possible development: Metz - Dijon - Lyon - Grenoble, Toulouse - Montpellier - Lyon and Nantes - Le Mans - Rouen - Lille. These would operate two or three times a day, using Coradia Liner bi-mode trains or CAF EMUs similar to those ordered for the Paris - Limoges - Toulouse route.

As far as night trains are concerned, the report studies the opportunity for creating a network of overnight services and examines the potential for 20 domestic and five international routes. The experience of Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), which has recently expanded its network of international overnight trains, is examined in the report, in order to identify methods of operation which are financially sustainable.

The report foresees the introduction of international overnight services on the following routes:

  • Paris - Brussels - Copenhagen - Malmö
  • Paris - Tours - Bordeaux - Madrid
  • Paris - Perpignan - Barcelona
  • Bordeaux - Barcelona
  • Metz - Strasbourg/Zürich - Montpellier - Perpignan - Barcelona
  • Paris/Brussels - Berlin/Vienna
  • Paris - Dijon - Milan - Venice
  • Paris - Dijon - Milan - Florence - Rome
  • Paris - Bayonne - Donostia as a portion of the Tarbes service
  • extending the Paris - Nice service to Ventimiglia in the summer,
  • and a winter ski service from Brussels to Bourg Saint Maurice.

The following domestic overnight services are recommended by the report:

  • Paris - Bourg Saint Maurice
  • Paris - Saint Gervais (winter)
  • Paris - Clermont-Ferrand
  • Quimper - Nantes - Marseille - Nice
  • Quimper - Nantes - Bourg Saint Maurice (winter)
  • Bordeaux - Nice, and
  • Metz - Nice.

These new services are predicted to capture 10-15% of the market and to carry 5.7 million passengers a year - 3.5 million on domestic services and 2.2 million on international routes. In order to ensure services are economically viable, portion working would be necessary on most trains.