(Plans for) French night train network renaissance

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Adlington

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The Railway Gazette reports:
FRANCE: Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djébbari has said his ambition is ‘to have about 10 overnight train services in 2030’. Djébbari’s statement came as ministers start to consider a report on the future of overnight and daytime TET services.
Originally due to have been submitted to parliament by June 30 2020, the report puts forward proposals for a network of overnight trains centred on four core routes: Marseille – Dijon, Marseille – Bordeaux, Tours – Lyon and Paris – Toulouse.
When 'ministers start to consider' something, it's virtually guaranteed nothing will be done...
 
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peteb

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Well, given the way SNCF like to combine trains, I'd have thought it would be quite feasible to attach a Marseille portion to the 2050 Paris to Briancon at Dijon. The night sleeper calls there unadvertised anyway. Couchettes could be made available at 2300 with departure around midnight, then the whole consist could proceed via Valence (where the Marseille portion would be detached at about 0400) giving an arrival in Marseille by 0700 with connections for Nice. A leisurely trundle down the PLM instead of a silly o clock get up at Dijon to be in Marseille by TGV at 9am. I'd do it.
 

30907

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Well, given the way SNCF like to combine trains, I'd have thought it would be quite feasible to attach a Marseille portion to the 2050 Paris to Briancon at Dijon. The night sleeper calls there unadvertised anyway. Couchettes could be made available at 2300 with departure around midnight, then the whole consist could proceed via Valence (where the Marseille portion would be detached at about 0400) giving an arrival in Marseille by 0700 with connections for Nice. A leisurely trundle down the PLM instead of a silly o clock get up at Dijon to be in Marseille by TGV at 9am. I'd do it.
The Briancon will be combined with the Paris-Nice anyway (ISTR calling at M-Blancarde not St Charles to save the reversal and additional loco). You might justify Dijon-Nice though, as it would only require one loco and crew at Dijon (you'd presumably want the northbound couchette platformed till 0700, as the train must call around 0330?)

Anyway, the proposal has Marseille-Dijon as a core route, with portions originating/terminating elsewhere.
 

peteb

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The Briancon will be combined with the Paris-Nice anyway (ISTR calling at M-Blancarde not St Charles to save the reversal and additional loco). You might justify Dijon-Nice though, as it would only require one loco and crew at Dijon (you'd presumably want the northbound couchette platformed till 0700, as the train must call around 0330?)

Anyway, the proposal has Marseille-Dijon as a core route, with portions originating/terminating elsewhere.
Maybe this core will use Dijon as a place where trains are combined late evening southbound and again early morning northbound? It would not be impossible to combine portions from Strasbourg too at Dijon.
 

Cheshire Scot

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Maybe this core will use Dijon as a place where trains are combined late evening southbound and again early morning northbound? It would not be impossible to combine portions from Strasbourg too at Dijon.
Back in the day (night!) sections from Reims, Metz, Luxembourg, Frankfurt and Strasbourg all passed through Dijon in various combinations to the south. probably a bit too wide ranging for the future as I am sure they will concentrate on core routes (Metz via Strasbourg then Dijon?) rather than running short portions from multiple origins.
 

peteb

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Back in the day (night!) sections from Reims, Metz, Luxembourg, Frankfurt and Strasbourg all passed through Dijon in various combinations to the south. probably a bit too wide ranging for the future as I am sure they will concentrate on core routes (Metz via Strasbourg then Dijon?) rather than running short portions from multiple origins.
Whatever they do it will make for interesting journeying once it all opens up again!

I've read on another forum that Paris to Nice overnight train is reinstated w.e.f.16th April, train departure from Paris Austerlitz 20:52 arrival Nice 09:11. Train number 5773. But I couldn't find this on the SNCF website or Bahn.de, so if anyone else has info. please share?
 
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jfollows

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Whatever they do it will make for interesting journeying once it all opens up again!

I've read on another forum that Paris to Nice overnight train is reinstated w.e.f.16th April, train departure from Paris Austerlitz 20:52 arrival Nice 09:11. Train number 5773. But I couldn't find this on the SNCF website or Bahn.de, so if anyone else has info. please share?
Although the start of this service appears to have been delayed from April 2021, it appears that it started running last week - on Thursday May 20 2021.

The new Paris-Nice sleeper is not Le Train Bleu – at least not for the time being.

Readers will have seen our piece regarding the relaunch of SNCF’s Paris-Nice overnight train.

I am pleased to tell you that this sleeper train was restored yesterday (Thursday May 20).

It departed Paris Austerlitz at 2052 and arrived into Nice today (Friday may 21) at 0911.

This is the European Year of Rail. The EU is encouraging its members to launch more rail services. It also wants to foster competition between the operators.

France’s contribution has been a partial relaunch of its domestic sleeper train network, of which Paris-Nice is the most significant.

For that reason the French prime minister Jean Castex, no less, was amongst the passengers and made an announcement on board.

France is taking the sleeper relaunch seriously. Castex tweeted, “Long live Paris-Nice!”.

Sadly for the moment this train is geared more to the needs of leisure rather than business travellers.

Business journalist Fabien Prévots tweeted a picture of the PM preparing his couchette berth for the night.

Seemingly the PM was travelling first class where there are four berths to a compartment.

Mark Smith of Seat61.com says “Intercites de Nuit have 1st class 4-berth couchettes, 2nd class 6-berth couchettes and reclining seats”.

There are no sleeping compartments on this train.

Adds Mark Smith, “If you want privacy you can book a whole couchette compartment for exclusive private, use.”

However that is the present situation. Things could change in the future should France’s restored overnight trains prove popular.

France currently remains on the Amber List for UK travellers but this situation could change by the summer.
See also https://www.seat61.com/France.htm#london-to-nice-by-sleeper-train
The Paris-Nice sleeper is back! It was discontinued in December 2017 along with other popular French night train routes, but the French government has promised to restore the most important night train services as a climate-friendly time-effective alternative to flying. First to be restored, the Paris-NiceIntercité de Nuit makes a welcome return starting 19 April 2021. Take an afternoon Eurostar from central London, dinner in Paris (I recommend the Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon), then sleep your way south in a couchette to Toulon, Cannes, Antibes or Nice! Why not go one-way by sleeper and the other way by TGV?

1622107156835.png
 
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Cheshire Scot

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Departing Paris at 20.52 a traffic stop at Dijon just before midnight would be feasible - no need to mess about shunting and attaching - I'd guess the Nice portion may be on the front to be first away from Valence. Also the combined Nice and Briancon train might already be at/close to maximum load.

In 1974 Le Train Bleu left Paris at 20.45 and called at Dijon 23.51 to 23.54, of course at that time as the premier night train from Paris to Nice it was sleeping cars only (plus restaurant car) back then, couchettes and seats were on the several other trains between these cities and although in its latter years Le Train Bleu did add couchettes to the consist I'm not sure todays couchette and seats offering should mentioned in the same breath as Le Train Bleu (although I plead guilty to having done so) , the route being the only similarity.

Admittedly a northbound call at Dijon would be at a less civilised hour.
 

Austriantrain

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A night train with couchettes only but no sleeping cars, however, is only a half-baked thing.
 

jfollows

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A night train with couchettes only but no sleeping cars, however, is only a half-baked thing.
Whilst I agree also, I'd consider booking a first-class compartment for two of us to travel together .... last time using couchette only it was OK but some old lady joined us from Paris to Toulouse (we were going to Carcassonne) and I think the extra for privacy could have been worth it. Not that she was a problem in any real way. But she had a dog.

EDIT: Apparently it costs €50 in addition to the price for two berths in a First Class couchette to reserve the whole compartment, "Espace Privatif" supplement, per https://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes/intercites-de-nuit.htm#Espace_privatif
 
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30907

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Whilst I agree also, I'd consider booking a first-class compartment for two of us to travel together .... last time using couchette only it was OK but some old lady joined us from Paris to Toulouse (we were going to Carcassonne) and I think the extra for privacy could have been worth it. Not that she was a problem in any real way. But she had a dog.

EDIT: Apparently it costs €50 in addition to the price for two berths in a First Class couchette to reserve the whole compartment, "Espace Privatif" supplement, per https://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes/intercites-de-nuit.htm#Espace_privatif
On that basis, all that is missing from a traditional sleeper (SNCF never had ensuites) is the washbasin. And it's rather more spacious.
 
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