It’s official—a direct rail connection between Paris and Berlin is underway. The project was announced in a joint statement by Germany’s Deutsche Bahn and France’s SNCF rail networks last week.
“I firmly believe in the great potential of the railways in and for Europe. Our planned new direct connection between the hearts of our two capitals will inspire even more people to travel by train,” stated Richard Lutz, CEO of Deutsche Bahn, at a ceremony in Strasbourg, France, on May 24 that marked 15 years of the French and German rail networks cooperating on service between the two countries.
As European governments look at ways to reduce carbon emissions, investment in environmentally friendly rail networks continues to gain momentum. This connection between Paris and Berlin is the latest example.
“In view of the climate crisis, rail is the mode of transport par excellence and offers the best alternative for business and leisure travel between our two countries,” Jean-Pierre Farandou, president of SNCF, said in a statement.
There are currently a handful of direct rail connections between France and Germany, including between Frankfurt and Paris, Stuttgart and Paris, and Frankfurt and Marseille.
Paris and Berlin are not exactly right around the corner from one another, which is part of the reason a nonstop high-speed rail option has taken so long to implement—the two capital cities are 650 miles apart. Currently, the shortest train route between Paris and Berlin takes around 7 hours, 30 minutes and includes a transfer in Frankfurt. When more than one transfer is involved, it can be upwards of 9 hours.
Farandou told the Agence France-Presse new agency last week that the new Paris-Berlin route will cut that travel time down to 7 hours when it launches in December 2023.