First high-speed train from Catalonia to Paris arrives 15 minutes late

The delay was attributed to heavy snow in the North of France. It was the first train that a high-speed train crossed the Pyrenees in direction to Paris. The high-speed train route from Barcelona to Paris is expected to be fully completed by 2020. This first train linked the Catalan city of Figueres with Paris, while some passengers came from Barcelona to Figueres in a regular train.

CNA / Jordi Font

December 20, 2010 10:35 PM

Paris (ACN).- The train left Figueres at 11 in the morning and made it to Paris in a little less than 6 hours. The first high-speed train travelling from Catalonia to Paris arrived 15 minutes late. The scheduled time of arrival was 16:41. The delay was attributed to heavy snow in the North of France that affected the circulation of trains throughout northern Europe. The SNCF train operated at a speed of between 200 to 320 kilometres an hour on the journey. However, between Barcelona and Figueres, within Catalonia, passenger travelled in a regular train as High-Speed track will not be ready until 2012. In Figueres, they switched to the SNCF High Speed Train, which drove them to Paris. Nevertheless, they could not make the entire journey in France at High-Speed as the special tracks between Perpignan and Montpellier will not be ready until 2020.

The first high speed train between Catalonia and France completed its first journey this Sunday without any incidents. The train was operated by the French company SNCF. It left from Figueres at 11 am and headed towards the French capital of Paris, arriving a little before 5 o’clock.

The 15-minute delay was attributed to heavy snow in the north of France. Both heavy snow and high winds have spurred cancellations and delays for both train and plane traffic since Friday in Great Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

The new high-speed train tracks between Barcelona and Paris save 1 hour and 15 minutes of journey time and go through the new transborder tunnel, El Pertús. On Sunday, the Figueres-Perpignan route finally opened after three weeks of trial runs. The high-speed train finally inaugurated the tunnel, passing through it at 11:15 yesterday.

The Figueres-Perpignan route will be part of the high-speed line from Barcelona to Paris in 2012, when the tracks between Barcelona and Figueres are scheduled to be finished. Then high-speed tracks will need to be added between Perpignan and Montpellier, the only part of the line within France that still uses traditional tracks. The high-speed line between Perpignan and Montpellier is not expected to be completed until 2020, despite heavy political pressure from Spain.

The train ran at a maximum of 200 kilometres an hour in the Pertús tunnel and then reduced its speed from Perpignan to Montpellier. After leaving Montpellier, the train accelerated to high-speed, with picks of 320 kilometres an hour along the rest of the journey.

Compared with the night train, the new high-speed train will not only be faster, but more comfortable, stated some passengers.