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New high-speed rail lines set to make European travel easier and faster

March 10, 2017 Rail No Comments Email Email

With multiple new high-speed rail projects now under construction across Europe, exploring some of the world’s most popular destinations by train is set to become even faster and more comfortable in 2017.

Rail Plus today updated Australian travel agents on a selection of the exciting new rail projects currently underway in Europe, including:

  • FRANCE

Paris-Rennes: Scheduled to open in mid-2017, the new Paris-Rennes route will reduce travel time between Paris and Rennes, in northwest Brittany, to just 85 minutes – 30 minutes faster than the current journey.

Paris-Bordeaux: The Tours-Bordeaux leg of the route is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in mid-2017. Once complete, the trip between Paris and Bordeaux in southwest of France will be cut from three to two hours.

Rail Plus Commercial Director Ingrid Kocijan says the shorter travel time will make Bordeaux’s unique wine region even more alluring to Australian travellers.

“In the city and its surroundings there are literally hundreds of castles, wine cellars and vineyards, making it a must-see for clients who love good food and wine,” says Kocijan. “La Cité du Vin, Bordeaux’s museum celebrating wine from around the world, also opened in 2016, offering a fresh look at French gastronomy.”

Nordportal, Altdorf, Zentralschweiz / Northern portal, Altdorf, Central Switzerland

  • GERMANY

Berlin-Munich: This new high-speed connection between two of Germany’s ‘magical cities’ is set to be completed in December 2017. With trains travelling along the route at 300km per hour the journey will take just under four hours, compared to the current six.

  • SPAIN

Madrid–Asturias: Work is now underway to extend the Madrid-León high-speed line to the northern region of Asturias. The project includes construction of the complex Variante de Pajares tunnels, which when completed will be the fifth largest in the world, the third deepest and the second most complex after the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

The opening of a new northern Spain high-speed rail line between Madrid and Asturias will make it easier for travellers to explore the cities of Oviedo, Gijón and their surroundings. The Madrid-Oviedo route currently takes five hours by train, but once the high-speed route begins operation, the journey will only last three hours and 15 minutes, while the Madrid-Gijón route will only take three hours and 30 minutes.

Inbetriebsetzung Nordportal Gotthard-Basistunnel, Erstfeld, Zentralschweiz / Commissioning Nordportal Gotthard Base Tunnel, Central Switzerland

Kocijan says these developments follow the opening in December 2016 of regular services through Switzerland’s Gotthard Base Tunnel, the largest and deepest tunnel in the world.

“This remarkable engineering feat took 17 years to complete but has delivered a tunnel under the Alps that connects Europe’s north and south. Swiss Federal Railways services now travel beneath the mountains in just 20 minutes, connecting Zurich, Switzerland and Milan, Italy in just three hours and 30 minutes.”

Agents are reminded that tickets are distributed via Rail Plus, Rail Tickets and Infinity Rail in Australia. See www.raileurope.fr/wheretobuy for more details.

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