Infotech Removed in 2017, the Paris-Nice night train is making a comeback (with a distinguished guest)

Removed in 2017, the Paris-Nice night train is making a comeback (with a distinguished guest)

The Paris-Nice night train leaves this Thursday evening after more than three years of stop, a relaunch wanted as a showcase by the French government which hopes to create in the coming years a dozen night lines, as elsewhere in Europe.

An honorary passenger, passionate about the railways, will sleep in a bunk of this inaugural train: the French Prime Minister Jean Castex, who will make the trip with the CEO of the SNCF. Departure from Parisian Austerlitz station at 8:52 p.m., arrival at 9:11 a.m. on Friday on the Côte d’Azur. Six hours more than the high-speed train.

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Scheduled for April 16 and then postponed due to the health crisis, this launch with great fanfare should “To promote a virtuous mode of transport which contributes to the opening up of the territories. Nice is ultra-connected for CSP ++ but less for students and others ”, stressed the entourage of the Prime Minister to AFP.

29 euros in a bunk

The Intercités Paris-Nice, whose operation ceased in December 2017 for lack of profitability, will connect Paris-Austerlitz and Nice-Ville every day and in both directions, with six stops including Marseille, Toulon and Cannes.

Tickets are available from 19 euros in a reclined seat, 29 euros in a second class berth and 39 euros in a first berth.

According to the SCNF, “The first trains are sold out, confirming the interest of the French for this ecological and economical mode of transport, which also responds to the desire to travel differently and at a different pace”.

Wearing a mask remains compulsory, and occupancy of the sleeper compartments is limited to four travelers instead of six in second class, ” in position head to tail in order to maximize distances between travelers ”, said SNCF.

With this nocturnal escape of 1,088 kilometers, Jean Castex wants to highlight a “Rapid realization of the recovery plan” French, which devotes 5.3 billion to the rail sector, including 100 million for night trains. The government also wants to relaunch Paris-Tarbes at the end of the year.

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In the immediate future, the Paris-Nice will leave with seven of the cars that normally go to Briançon (Hautes-Alpes), a link currently closed for works.

The Prime Minister also wants to insist on the “Ecological dimension” of these trips in a bunk or reclining seat, as an alternative to the plane over these long distances.

“Blue train”

After the stop at the end of 2017 of Paris-Nice, heir to the prestigious “Blue Train” launched in 1886, a call to find a buyer had been launched, in vain.

The relaunched link could be the first in a new series of night lines. “My ambition is ten night trains in 2030”, said Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari in January.

There were no longer – excluding stops linked to the pandemic or to works – only two night train lines in France, from Paris to Briançon, and from Paris to Rodez, Cerbère and Latour-de-Carol (Pyrénées-Orientales ). The cars of these surviving lines must be completely renovated by 2023, for 44 million euros.

Night trains: the Minister of Transport hopes for “ten” lines in 2030

Night links Dijon-Marseille, Bordeaux-Marseille, Paris-Toulouse and Tours-Lyon may follow one day, according to a government report published on Tuesday by the Mobilettre newsletter. Perhaps the lines will be seasonal. Links with large foreign cities are also planned.

1.45 billion

The rapporteurs take as a model the success of the Austrian company ÖBB with the creation of a real network (Vienna-Amsterdam or Munich-Rome, among others).

In all, 600 cars would be needed for an estimated price of 924 million euros, as well as 60 locomotives, for a total bill of 1.45 billion.

The very active Yes to the Night Train collective welcomed the return of Paris-Nice, calling on the government to “Commit without delay to release the necessary funding for the revival of night trains”, with orders for new wagons.

The Climate Action Network specified, for its part, that it was ” now “ that political decisions had to be taken “: It will take another five to seven years for this network to emerge”, said the association in a press release.

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