Enemies yesterday, allies today, Guillaume Pepy and Rüdiger Grube, the two leading European rail companies CEO, Deutsche Bahn and SNCF, today hold the same language and defend the same cause in Brussels - ie the German rail governing model with the historical railway company holding on infrastructure management and commercial operations (1)
The two men are hand in hand and even have a nickname : "Grupy", for Grube and Pepy !
New stage of this close cooperation seemingly strong is the new direct route inaugurated March 23, 2012 between Marseille and Frankfurt on board Euroduplex TGV manufactured by Alstom. Siemens ICE are waiting to be homologated.
From now on, a TGV leaves Marseille every morning at 8:14 and arrives in Frankfurt at 15:58. And a train leaves daily at 14h in Frankfurt to arrive at Gare Saint-Charles at 9:46 p.m. The new route follows the new high speed line Rhin-Rhone opened in 2011 (read revious article)
, which avoids passing through Paris, and enables travelers to save 90 minutes.
"This is a new stage of cooperation between SNCF and DB, after the success of Paris-Munich-Stuttgart and Frankfurt-Paris trains, operational since 2007," said Barbara Dalibard, SNCF Voyages CEO, during a press conference in Strasbourg. Joint venture
This new direct partnership operated by SNCF and Deutsche Bahn "opens a new chapter in the history of French and German high speed transport system, operated jointly by our two companies within Alleo (a 50% SNCF, 50 % DB joint venture, ed)", she added.
"It's a great day for the construction of the European railways. With the opening of this line between Frankfurt and Marseille, France and Germany are even more closely involved," said Rüdiger Grube. Nathalie Arensonas (1) This model of governance doesn't please the European Commission which considers that integrating infrastructure management and commercial operations into a single group results in discriminatory treatment of DB competitors (ie, future new entrants in France if railway is open to competition).