Renfe Barcelona – Marseille and Lyon routes are suspended.

Renfe Barcelona - Marseille and Lyon routes are suspended.

After the French public rail operator SNCF took the decision not to renew its agreement with Renfe, the Barcelona – Marseille and Lyon connections will be suspended as of today.

Until now, these routes were operated jointly by the two companies through Alta Velocidad.

But from now on, by losing these routes connecting the Catalan capital with the two French cities, only the connection with Paris will remain in operation.

Thus, the only train route that will remain in operation will be the one connecting Barcelona – Paris, since the French company decided to operate alone the only route connecting the two cities.

However, the decision taken will drastically reduce the number of trains running between the two countries.

The situation that will arise is that the Paris – Barcelona route will be operated only by a single daily frequency train running in each direction, i.e. only two trains in total.

Renfe Barcelona – Marseille and Lyon routes suspended

Likewise, France’s SNCF also vetoed Renfe’s solo operation in the neighboring country until its trains have French safety certification.

It appears that the Spanish rail transport operator has already begun the process.

However, Renfe stated that it has not yet received any response from the French authorities and, in turn, regretted the breakdown of relations between the two public companies.

Much more so, says Renfe, when the private French company Ouigo was allowed to come to Spain.

The Spanish operator described this as a setback in connectivity between the two countries, as the two lost lines account for around 5.5 million trips since 2013.

It is likely that the routes lost to continue operating the Lyon-Barcelona and Marseille-Barcelona lines can be recovered once Renfe obtains the safety certificates.

Since 2013, Elipsos has been part of the Renfe-SNCF brand.

Through this partnership, the two cooperating companies operated the three cross-border routes.

However, at the beginning of 2022, the scenario changed when SNCF informed Renfe of its “unilateral” decision to dissolve the company that integrated them.

The reason for the French company’s decision was the lack of profitability of international lines, an explanation that was neither shared nor accepted by Renfe considering the effects of the pandemic on international transport demand.

It was anticipated that in the short to medium term, the two companies could break even and consider entering into new businesses related to international transportation.

In this way, and after SNCF communicated the decision, Renfe, for its part, activated the mechanisms to operate alone between Spain and France.