High-speed rail link between Berlin and Paris set to launch in this year

Direct high-speed train services are set to commence between Berlin and Paris, offering a travel alternative to flights.

Train of the Austrian company Nightjet

Train of the Austrian company Nightjet © unsplash.com, Simon Tartarotti

This year, the launch of two new direct high-speed trains between Berlin and Paris is planned. This fast route will pass through Strasbourg, which is notably the residence of the European Parliament. In addition to Strasbourg, the train will make stops in in France and Mannheim, Erfurt and Halle in Germany.

The first of these routes is expected to be operational by December 2023, with the second following suit in 2024. Until now, there hasn't been a direct railway link between Paris and Berlin. The journey duration is estimated to be around 7 hours.


Disputes between France and Germany over stops on the Paris-Berlin high-speed train

The discussion surrounding this new railway link between the German and French capitals has been ongoing for several months. The route had been a point of contention. Recently, the French Transport Minister confirmed that the train would pass through Strasbourg.

Earlier in June, the German railway operator, Deutsche Bahn, mentioned an agreement with the French company SNCF. According to this agreement, the route was supposed to go through the German city of Saarbrücken, located near the border, instead of passing through Strasbourg and Karlsruhe.

This proposal met with opposition. Several cities penned a joint open letter requesting a change in the route. The idea also garnered support from a number of European Parliament deputies and EU staff, given that Strasbourg serves as an alternative residence for the European Parliament.

A compromise has now been reached. The night train will travel through Saarbrücken, while the TGV train will pass through Strasbourg and Karlsruhe. The exact launch dates for the night and day trains are yet to be finalized.

It is anticipated that this new high-speed Berlin-Paris connection will serve as a viable alternative to flights, potentially reducing air traffic between these two major European cities.


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