New train lines connecting Wallonia to Paris
From December 9 onward, Belgian railway company, SNCB/NMBS, and French state-owned rail company, SNCF, will offer two new train lines connecting Namur, Charleroi and Mons to Paris with two round trips per day. They will offer a cheaper alternative to the Thalys and an easier access to the French capital for citizens from south Wallonia.
Since the closing of the Liège-Namur-Charleroi-Mons-Paris high-speed TGV line in 2015, south Walloon inhabitants had to go to Brussels to catch a train for Paris. Their alternative to taking the Thalys from the Belgian capital was to find their way to Lille and get aboard the TGV. French and Belgian rail will now offer them faster and cheaper alternatives.
Two new connections
The first new line will connect Namur to Paris via Charleroi and Maubeuge, France. Passengers will catch the new IC train until the first French stop and then they will have to change trains to reach their end destination. The journey will take them around three hours, which, all in all, is faster than going to Brussels from Namur and taking the Thalys. Two trains are scheduled per day, the first one departing at 5:46 a.m. and the second one at 4:46 p.m.
A second phase will see the opening of a direct line toward Paris from Mons via Aulnoye-Aymeries, France. Both French and Belgian rail companies opted for these new normal train connections because developing stops for the Thalys would have cost at least 7 million euro per year.
‘Passengers will save time’
“It’s a good news for the Walloon traveller”, declares Gianni Tabbone from the commuters’ association, Naveteurs.be. “People will gain time and tickets will be cheaper than with high-speed trains.”
Those two new lines connect all the Walloon cities where the old TGV line used to stop except for Liège. “Regarding the travel time, it’s not interesting for Liège commuters. Given their location, it’s more advantageous and faster for them to go through Brussels,” explains Gianni Tabbone.