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Cheap-day return TGVs in the north

SNCF to introduce new weekend fares to put Lille, Lens and Arras just €20 from Paris

FRANCE’S most expensive TGV line is to get cheaper journeys and refurbished trains after local politicians threatened to take legal action over the service.

Lille mayor Martine Aubry revealed that SNCF was to introduce €20 Saturday cheap-day return tickets on the TGV Nord network with travel from all the Nord/Pas-de-Calais stations to Paris. That puts Lille, Lens or Arras just a short high-speed journey from the capital and makes cheap days out possible.

She said at a press conference where she stood in for Transport Minister Frédéric Cuvillier: “This will allow many inhabitants of Nord/Pas-de-Calais to visit the capital, take in an exhibition, see friends and family - and vice-versa, to come to see us, go to the Louvre-Lens.”

The cheap-day return will also be available on Sundays from this summer.

The TGV Nord line was criticised for having travel at €0.19 per kilometre compared to €0.16 for Paris-Marseille and SNCF has already set up an annual pass for commuters, which brings the price of the return journey down to €16.

Passengers groups are now calling for all the towns situated an hour from Paris - such as Tours, Le Mans and Reims – to be given the same treatment.

Nine new twin-level trains will be brought in by 2015 to replace outdated units and 22 trains will be entirely refurbished to be brought into service in 2014.

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