SNCF has launched a ‘classic Ouigo’ train service on its historic Paris-Nantes and Paris-Lyon lines, offering passengers cheaper tickets for a regular rather than high-speed journey.
Passengers will travel in SNCF’s renovated ‘Corail’ trains, which first entered circulation in 1975, and which will now travel on original train lines rather than TGV routes.
This means that they have a longer distance to cover, but also that tickets can be bought for as little as €10, or €5 for children. The fastest trains to these cities cost up to €100 for Lyon and €90 for Nantes.
SNCF has stated that tickets should normally cost €30 maximum, and that the cheaper prices should apply year-round as well as when booking at the last minute. However, The Connexion notes that at very busy times such as this Friday (Good Friday), tickets may be more expensive.
There are currently 10 of these ‘classic Ouigo’ trains running each day, two return trips to Lyon and three to Nantes on two different lines.
SNCF hopes that the ‘classic Ouigo’ service will contribute towards doubling the proportion of journeys taking place on trains in France by 2030, from 10% to 20%.
This comes as passenger figures show a 15% drop when compared to 2019, and the number of people travelling for business remains low following the Covid lockdowns.
However, “the first quarter has confirmed a movement back towards train travel,” SNCF Voyageurs CEO Christophe Fanichet said during a press conference on April 8. “Occasional and leisure travel is recovering well: we are nearly back to normal in that sector.
“We sold five million tickets for Easter, which is as much as [we sold] during the whole Covid-19 epidemic.”
‘Classic Ouigo’ tickets can be bought through the Ouigo smartphone app.