How SNCF intends to attack the Italian market thanks to the TGV

The operator could multiply its cross-border connections by relying on its new TGV-M.

The shepherd’s answer to the shepherdess? SNCF is preparing its response to the great success of Trenitalia in France, which inaugurated its first high-speed line almost a year ago (Paris-Lyon-Milan) thus becoming SNCF’s first competitor on the TGV.

The French operator would indeed intend to strengthen its cross-border offer by 2026-2027, mentions in particular the transalpine press. It will not be a question of launching as such on the Italian internal market (as the opening to competition allows it) but of reinforcing the high-speed offer from France.

It should indeed be remembered that if the TGV Inoui of the SNCF already go to Italy (towards Milan via Turin), they cannot run there at very high speed for technical compatibility problems. Still, SNCF Voyages Italia has transported more than 6 million passengers between France and Italy in a decade…

The new TGV M will be the strong arm of this strategy

This brake on high speed will be lifted with Alstom’s new TGV M, precisely designed to run on foreign rail networks.

Moreover, during the presentation of this new train last September, the management of the SNCF did not hide its European ambitions. It must be said that the national company already generates 30% of its turnover outside France, in Europe, particularly in Spain where its low-cost Ouigo offer meets its audience.

Thus, fifteen of the 115 TGV M trains ordered by SNCF from Alstom will indeed run on cross-border links. It will therefore be the armed wing of this strategy.

“It will start rolling towards Italy on the Paris-Milan line, a line which is experiencing incredible success, from 2026 when the current trains will have become obsolete”, explained to BFM Business, Alain Krakovitch, director TGV / Intercités at SNCF.

According to italian press, no less than 14 connections would be considered, they would connect Paris and Lyon to Turin, Milan, Rome and even Naples. The SNCF would seek to establish a partnership with an Italian actor to settle more quickly the institutional and strategic questions inherent in this project.

Questioned by BFM Business, the SNCF indicated “not to have any additional comments to make”.

Trenitalia will ramp up in France

For its part, Trenitalia is also displaying new ambitions in France. Building on the success of its Paris-Lyon link (which also benefits the entire market), the operator is considering launching other lines.

“Our ambition is of course to develop ourselves; we have studies in progress on other lines”, indicated the boss of its French subsidiary Roberto Rinaudo to City Rail & Transport.

“The regional market is very important and it is a huge opportunity for the entire rail system (…) Our objective is not to position ourselves in all regions, but to choose a few strategic regions based on the synergies that we can do with our high-speed lines,” he said.

Olivier Chicheportiche Journalist BFM Business

How SNCF intends to attack the Italian market thanks to the TGV-M