A direct high speed railway that would take passengers from London to Bordeaux in under five hours could be in operation by 2020, according to the chief executive of the HS1 rail network.
Currently travellers from London to Bordeaux have to change trains in Paris. The Paris route takes 5h 25m, including a 1 hour 5 minutes connection in Paris, travelling from London to Bordeaux.
The current return connection in Paris takes 6h 26m, with a longer 1h 55m connection in Paris, owing to the need to pass through border and security controls.
The new direct service would cut travel times to less than five hours in both directions, through a direct route and security controls located in Bordeaux, with trains reaching speeds of up to 200 mph between the two cities.
The proposed route bypasses Paris and takes advantage of a newly completed 302km French high-speed rail line linking the French town of Tours with Bordeaux.
“As we’ve seen with the recent introduction of the Eurostar London-Amsterdam service, there’s a real demand for international train services to provide a comfortable and better-connected service, especially for leisure journeys,” said Dyan Crowther, chief executive of HS1 Ltd.
“This is the first time that railway operators have collaborated in this way and saves the train operator having to do a lot of legwork. The route is almost ready for a train operator to turn up and turn the key as soon as the UK and French Governments agree on border controls.
“With the right commitment, we could be looking at new services in the next couple of years. The service will take passengers direct from city centre to city centre, taking the hassle out of travel to South West France.”
HS1 Ltd, the owner and operator of High Speed 1, is in advanced planning with three other international railway operators along the proposed route, and is working on pre-planned timetable slots and train routes, meaning that a new international train operator will be able to get the route up and running in “a couple of years”.
The four railway operators along the proposed route (HS1 Ltd, Lisea, Eurotunnel and SNCF Réseau) are meeting at the end of April, beginning of May, 2018 to discuss developing a Gare de Bordeaux-Saint-Jean station, to facilitate international departures.
Source Drinks Business, UK