FS Italiane aims to launch Paris-Barcelona high-speed trains by 2024
The Italian state railways FS Italiane wants to launch a new high-speed rail connection between Barcelona and Paris by the end of 2024. Already running its flagship Frecciarossa 1000 (Red Arrow) trains between Madrid and Barcelona with Iryo, the connection to Paris would link the Spanish and French capitals with high-speed, in Italian style.
Once FS Italiane has trains running from Madrid to Paris, it effectively links Spain, France and Italy, as it already expanded its Frecciarossa trains on the route between Milan and Paris. “There is a plan and we are working on it. If we to throw our heart over the obstacle, we could see this dream realised by the end of 2024”, said FS Group CEO Luigi Ferraris on the sidelines of the 2022 Tiepolo Award ceremony at the Italian embassy in Madrid this week. He did not specify whether the train service between Paris and Barcelona would also be under the Iryo umbrella, or branded as Trenitalia, like the trains it runs between Paris and Lyon.
FS Group has been present in France since 18 December 2021 with the Milan-Paris connection, which was followed by its service between Lyon and Paris. Since 25 November 2022, it also runs trains in Spain, being one of the main shareholders of new entrant to the railways Iryo between Madrid, Zaragoza and Barcelona. There it also runs its typical Red Arrow trains, which were newly built by Hitachi.
FS Italiane’s expansion across Europe
FS Italiane aims to make Europe a domestic market and increase its international revenues from 1.8 billion euros in 2019 to around 5 billion in 2031, it lined out in its Ten-Year Industrial Plan. Similarly, Spanish national operator Renfe is also looking to expand more northward, as it prepared opening a branch in Paris and plans to run trains between London and Paris. Although the Spanish operator has not announced plans specifically for the route Madrid – Paris like FS Italiane did, this would not be surprising considering it has similar international expansion plans.
As for FS Italiane, the company is present in Great Britain with Trenitalia c2c, controlled by Trenitalia UK, which has strengthened its presence with the assignment of the concession to manage the line London-Glasgow. In addition, services will be added on the new high-speed line HS2, which will connect London with Birmingham and Manchester.
In Germany and the Czech Republic the FS Group is present with Netinera, which was formerly Arriva Germany, and FS also is active in Greece, where it acquired the countries’ leading railway operator Hellenic Train in 2017 (then still called Trainose).