TGV high speed trains will transport around 12 million passengers on the French, Swiss and German rail networks taking rail travellers to important cities and regions, without having to go through Paris.
Journey times have been cut bringing Europe closer together and increasing the reach of the TGV.
The Rhine-Rhône line consolidates France’s strength as a hub for rail travel in Europe, and was cited by the European Union as a priority connection for the European transport network, when work began back in 2006.
The 2,312 billion Euro project was financed by 20 partners including the French State, the European Union, Switzerland, the Burgundy region, Franche-Comté, Alsace and the Railroad network of France.
The high speed lines on the Rhine-Rhône network include an eastern branch between Dijon (Burgundy) and Mulhouse (Alsace) via two new stations: Belfort-Montbeliard and Bescancon Franche-Comte, which are regions well worth exploring.
The other high speed sections are a spur towards the Rhône-Alpes region and a southern line between Paris and Lyon and onwards to the Mediterranean.
The opening of the 140km TGV Rhine-Rhône line affects two routes. Paris-Mulhouse-Zurich and Germany-Strasbourg-Lyon-southern France.
Journey times on the TGV on these routes have been reduced by as much as 90 minutes between Mulhouse and Marseille and Dijon and Strasbourg.
For example Dijon - Strasbourg now has a journey time of 2 hours (instead of 3 hours 40 minutes), Paris-Belfort-Montbéliard now takes 2 hours 15 minutes (instead of 3 hours 50 minutes) while the Paris-Besancon route now takes just two hours. Dijon is now only 1 hour and 25 minutes from Basel in Switzerland and Lyon is just under five hours from Frankfurt.
No fewer than six TGV services run every day between Strasbourg and Lyon, five of which continue down to the Mediterranean coast (Marseille, Montpellier etc.), with journey times cut by at least one hour.
From March 23, the new Euroduplex TGV trains (comfortable double-decker trains) will whisk passengers daily between Germany’s Frankfurt and France’s Strasbourg and onwards to Lyon and Marseille.
Individual and group fares are now available to book and the new service will be priced similarly to the successful Paris-Frankfurt/Stuttgart route, which has been in operation since December.
Passengers using the line on the TGV Lyria trains should note that all trains will now leave from Gare de Lyon.