In Lyon, Renfe, a new competitor of the SNCF, presents its TGV which will provide the link to Barcelona

2023-07-06 18:08:02

Jean-Luc Boujon (in Lyon) / Photo credit: OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP 8:08 p.m., July 6, 2023

New competitor of the SNCF on the French territory, the Renfe will start its first connections between Barcelona and Lyon in a week. To win over travellers, the Spanish company is betting on attractive prices this summer and a faster connection between the two cities.

For the summer holidays, are you more traditional or fond of new things? This is the question posed by Renfe in Lyon, which will inaugurate its link between Lyon and Barcelona next week. And to stand out, the Spanish company relies on several points. Starting with the look of its trains: the Ave – the name of the Renfe train – is white on the outside with touches of burgundy on the inside; more spacious but considered less modern.

Far from the Ouigo trains launched a few years ago, these trains have two levels of comfort and travel up to 300km/h. The connection to join Lyon to Barcelona will be direct, in just five hours from center to city to city center. For the same journey, the SNCF today displays 5h30 of connection, with at least one change. The connection even lasts seven hours when there are two changes.

Aggressive prices

Another advantage that may tip the balance on the Renfe side: the prices. For the launch this summer, they are very aggressive, with tickets at just 29 euros for a Lyon-Barcelona one-way ticket. “We want to be able to give all travelers the possibility of experiencing Spanish high speed. And Renfe has a lot of experience in high speed and in high speed service. And we wanted to demonstrate that it is possible to offer a other customer service”, defends Susana Lozano, international director of Renfe.

However, these prices are only valid this summer. Once the launch is firmly in the minds of travelers, they will increase a little. The objective of Renfe is to be competitive with the SNCF but also with low cost planes and with the road since from Lyon, it takes about six hours to go to Barcelona. Renfe will continue next year to attack the French market since it will try to establish itself on the Paris-Lyon line, possible if it obtains the necessary authorizations.

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