Back when the Rhine-Rhône high speed TGV line (in French: LGV Rhin-Rhône) was being planned it was described that “In contrast to France’s other high speed lines — apart from the bypass round the east of Paris — LGV Rhin-Rhône was conceived primarily as an inter-regional route and not as a high speed link from the provinces to the capital” by Railway Gazette.
The thing is that – in my experience – this line is not actually completing that task very well at all. I am trying to plan a Berlin – (Mannheim) – Béziers rail trip this summer, and the only decent connection going southbound takes me via Paris Est along the LGV Est instead (details here).
So how then is the LGV Rhin-Rhône doing as a non-Paris connected TGV line? These are the only 8 trains that use it towards southern France for my test day, 21st April 2015. Trains marked * are international.
The connections with Germany are especially poor – this is just one daily through service. The connections to Stuttgart, Nice and Barcelona that Railway Gazette hopes for have of course not materialised.
TGV 6700 TGV 6704 TGV 6706 TGV 6708 – Mulhouse-Paris
TGV 6745 TGV 6749 TGV 6765 – Besançon Viotte-Paris (uses only part of the LGV Rhin-Rhône)
TGV 5152 – Mulhouse-Lille (via Paris Airport CDG)
TGV 9588 – Freiburg (Breisgau)-Paris*
TGV 6886 – Basel SBB-Paris*
TGV 9206 TGV 9210 TGV 9218 TGV 9222 TGV 9226 TGV 9230 – Zürich-Paris*
So this is French railways again behaving as they always do – it is always all about Paris. Everything else is secondary.
(some numbers amended since initially publishing this, thanks to assistance from Twitter – the main point stands though!)