Swiss Railways train in Zurich Station
Since the completion of more high-speed lines in France and Spain over 10 years ago, it has been possible to make a daytime journey from London to Barcelona by changing trains in Paris. Unfortunately, SNCF (French State Railways) have run only 2-3 direct daily services from Paris to Barcelona in recent years. This means there is only one realistic connection with Eurostar in Paris giving a London-Barcelona journey time of around 11-12 hours. Until the rest of the high-speed link between Montpelier and Perpignan is completed, the journey to Spain can be more attractive by making stop-overs in one of the interesting places along the way. Once this line is completed, there could be up to 20 daily services connecting Paris and Barcelona. Now the stop-over options have just become easier as RENFE (Spanish State Railways) are now also running 2 new daytime services: – one from Marseille to Madrid and another from Lyon to Barcelona.
You can look here for some useful stopover hints: https://www.youtube.com/@low-carbon-travel/videos.
IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS: – Various campaigns are now taking shape with the aim of making further improvements to cross-border services. We can expect the start of 2 new night train services: – one from Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris to Barcelona and another from Zurich to Barcelona. We are hoping that a regular service of up to 8-9 daily regional trains can run from Barcelona to Perpignan in the next few years. Finally, on the Atlantic coast, we have the possibility of a completely new regular interval regional service between San Sebastian and Bayonne, once modernisation work on the line in Spain has been completed.
You can find out more about the possibilities at: https://www.epf.eu/wp/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Pau-Noy-AIF.pdf.