Le Train wants to launch regional TGVs in the Great West in 2023

The connections imagined by the young private company must connect Arcachon, Bordeaux, Angoulême and Poitiers, then La Rochelle, Tours, Angers, Nantes and Rennes.

Goal 2023.”The train», a new private railway company born in Charente, wants to launch regional and interregional high-speed trains next year in the Great West, but it must buy and renovate second-hand TGVs by then. “We are in the full phase of prefiguration of the exploitation, in full industrial and commercial construction“, enthused its general manager Alain Getraud, in an interview with AFP.

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Le Train wants to make better use of the new Sud Europe Atlantique line (Tours-Bordeaux) opened in 2017, which, according to him, is “a superb infrastructure, but with a service deemed insufficient by the territories it crosses“. The SNCF mainly runs Paris-Bordeaux trains there, which rarely stop en route. The connections imagined by the young company must connect Arcachon, Bordeaux, Angoulême and Poitiers, then La Rochelle, Tours, Angers, Nantes and Rennes. “We don’t serve Paris!laughs this former SNCF Réseau executive, who came to present his young company at the public transport fair (EuMo Expo) this week in … Paris. He plans “50 trains per day“, with timetables allowing easy connections with the TER and affordable prices:”a little more expensive than a TER ticket and cheaper than an Inoui ticket (the classic SNCF TGV, editor’s note), about the same price as a Ouigo ticket (the low-cost TGV)“, he promises. With subscriptions and a loyalty program.

Among the new companies that want to take advantage of the opening up to competition to challenge the SNCF – or complete its offer, they like to say – the Railcoop cooperative has found trains, but lacks the money to get started quickly between Bordeaux and Lyons. It’s a bit the opposite for Le Train. On the financial side, Alain Getraud has been confident since Crédit Mutuel Arkéa and Crédit Agricole entered the capital, “to finance the operation and allow to go until the exploitation“. Discreet on the amount of fundraising, “few millions“, it evokes “a whole financial arsenalwhich will allow him to buy trains in particular.

Second-hand TGV, then new

The Train first wants to buy ten second-hand trains from the SNCF. Undoubtedly TGV Atlantique on a single level, a material “a bit old» et «retrofittednot to say retype. The task would be entrusted to Alstom or Masteris, a division of the SNCF. It will also be necessary to solve the security problems, to make sure that there is no asbestos problem, to consolidate the legal aspect, to ensure the maintenance: “These files take a long time to come up!“Alain Getraud says he has”agreement in principle“of the national company, with whom”Overall, relations are good“. He thinks he can start in the second half of 2023.

Le Train, which moved to Bordeaux, would then employ 150 people – compared to about twenty currently. Because it will be necessary to hire by then drivers and on-board personnel. Such a start would be rather quick since the company was only created in February 2020 on the initiative of the Charente industrialist Tony Bonifaci, director in particular of the New Society of Public Works and Civil Engineering (SNGC). In case he could not buy and repair his ten TGVs by then, Alain Getraud is considering a “plan Breduced, with only five oars.

A second phase of development planned for 2026

And even with ten second-hand TGVs,it will not be enough for the developmentfrom the company, he immediately bounces back. “We are in a sequence of consultation of the European market and acquisition of new equipment in addition“, he underlines, seeking “a product that existsat Alstom, CAF, Hitachi Rail or Siemens. A second phase of development is in the cards for 2026 with an increase in frequencies on the first links and extensions to Toulouse and the Basque Country.

Le Train has a big appetite, according to its general manager. “We look at the calls for tenders for the regional balance trains», these Intercités that the State wants to open up to competition like Bordeaux-Nantes via La Rochelle, a connection that the young company also wants to complete and shorten by passing through Tours. Possibly by associating with others.

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