The Spanish company Renfe makes its appearance on our rails. It will first try to impose itself and currently offers two lines.
Renfe enters the French market, taking over from the Italian Trenitalia. The Spanish railway company will initially offer two lines, Barcelona-Lyon and Madrid-Marseille.
Monday, January 16, the mandatory tests before marketing concerned, from Perpignan, trains without passengers.
A “before summer” offer
Renfe says: “Our objective is to launch a Barcelona-Lyon and Madrid-Marseille offer before the summer”. What about competition with the SNCF? There will be none.
The Spanish company had requested a security certificate: “In France, the requirements only allow obtaining a safety certificate to operate on specific lines and not on the whole network. We will continue to develop the works to operate throughout France”, adds Renfe. Eventually, it wants to offer tickets for the Lyon-Turin route.
A deployment slowed down by the SNCF?
But the Spanish company thinks that its French counterpart is slowing down its development. A source at the SNCF has been contacted by the daily Le Parisien :
There is no form of slowing down, on the contrary, we welcome them with open arms! Everywhere in Europe, including in Spain, railway companies must adapt their equipment according to the technical characteristics of each line.
In May 2021, the SNCF had opened a Madrid-Barcelona line.
The Italian precedent
What can Renfe expect in terms of profitability? No one can really predict with certainty.
Trenitalia, which arrived at the end of 2021 on the Paris-Lyon route, carried a large million passengers. This number corresponds to less than 1% of the overall market share of the TGV in France and the transalpine company is struggling to fill its trains with an occupancy rate, posting an average rate of 50%.