SNCF promises 15% extra cheaper seats on TGV in France

The SNCF will increase the supply of seats on the TGV or HST by 15% in France and 10% internationally over the next ten years. Thanks to an increase in Ouigo’s low-cost trains, the expansion of that offer is possible.

The SNCF in France is under strong pressure because different companies will launch regional high-speed services in the future due to the market opening in French railways.

From 38 to 50 trains

In France, the share of this low-cost service will be expanded from 38 to 50 trains serving around 75 stations, compared to 60 today. At the same time, some new destinations, such as Hendaye, to serve the Basque Country are coming, and the offer of certain service lines is being strengthened, for example, between Paris and Rennes and Paris and Bordeaux.

As a result, SNCF hopes that by 2030, 30% of its TGV revenue will be generated by low-cost Ouigo trains, compared to 20% today.

On an Ouigo train, recognizable by its bright pink and blue colors, 50% of customers pay a maximum of 25 euros for their ticket. There are also some 20 more seats per train set compared to the TGV Inoui, the more expensive offering with optimal comfort and on-board catering that replaced the classic TGV offering.

Ouigo trains, for example, are also never new and cover an average of 40% more km than Inoui trains. These are old Inoui trains that have undergone a thorough renovation halfway through their lives, allowing them to be used again as low-cost rains.

Complete renovation

In general, the Ouigo trains will also undergo a complete renovation. The seats will be completely renewed, individual sockets will be installed in each seat, and up to 16 bicycle hooks will be installed in each train.

Another new feature is that two cars will be dedicated solely to relaxation so travelers can stretch their legs or children can play games there.

Last year, 3 million customers traveled in France with a classic Ouigo train. In Spain, SNCF managed to capture a 20% market share thanks to its low-cost Ouigo offer, which cut prices compared to the rates charged by the Spanish national company Renfe.

According to the Spanish Minister of Transport, Oscar Puente, SNCF sells at a loss to increase its market share in Spain at the expense of Renfe. The Spanish government is studying the possibility of denouncing Ouigo before the National Markets and Competition Commission.

Alain Krakovitch, president of Ouigo España, refutes that statement. According to him, the Ouigo model in Spain is based on the volume made possible thanks to its duplex trains with 509 seats (1,018 in multiple units), thus allowing economies of scale and maintaining low prices.

Expansion of the offer in Italy

To expand its offer, SNCF has ordered 115 new-generation HSTs, the TGV M, representing an investment of 4 billion euros. Manufacturer Alstom will deliver these in the second half of 2025 and will thus be deployed on the TGV Inoui line. One hundred are destined for France and 15 for Italy, where the public company plans to offer internal high-speed connections from 2026.

Through its passenger transport subsidiary SNCF Voyageurs, the company plans to introduce nine daily round trips between Turin, Milan, Rome, and Naples and four between Turin and Venice. This will also include the cities of Brescia, Verona, Padua, Bologna, and Florence.

SNCF will gradually introduce the Italian rail offer. Ultimately, the company, which will compete with Trenitalia and Italo, aims for a 15% market share.

In addition to the new Italian connections, SNCF will continue its existing daily runs between Paris, Turin, and Milan.

On to 50 million

SNCF wants to reach 50 million international passengers by 2034. It currently reaches 30 million a year across nine countries. Foreign operations account for 30% of SNCF’s turnover.

Ticket sales for this summer are running like clockwork. Thanks to the Paris Olympics, 20% more bookings have been registered for the first half of August, i.e., 2 million tickets have already been sold.

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