Love wine? Love France? What about trains? Well, since you’re a Secret London reader we’re guessing you almost definitely love those too. So, boy have we got some news for you. A international direct rail journey from London to Bordeaux that we first heard about some five years ago is back in the news. After a fair amount of radio silence, we’ve finally heard more thanks to an article from The Times. And it looks like that direct train to Bordeaux could be coming in just few years.
The project was initially side-lined due to Covid, and then put on the back burner for an indefinite amount of time. However, Dylan Crowther, the Chief Executive of HS1, has decided it’s time to get Londoners excited about international rail travel again. And what better way to do that than a direct train to Bordeaux that will take less than five hours?!
The proposed journey(s)
HS1, which operates the 68 mile railway line between London and the channel tunnel, is hoping to expand their reach throughout Europe. Their goal is to entice train operators from the United Kingdom (such as Eurostar), France (SNCF), and Spain (Renfe) to use their lines. If they’re successful, by 2026 Londoners could take advantage of a direct ‘wine train’ to Bordeaux, as well as a ‘snow express’ to Geneva and a business shuttle to Frankfurt and Cologne. Crowther even suggests that further possible destinations in 2030 could include Marseille, Toulouse, and Milan.
But the train to Bordeaux has its share of roadblocks
The so-called ‘wine train’ is not without its issues. It may prove difficult to entice operators to use the lines, given the economic difficulties they’re facing. Eurostar, for example, has had to cut a number of services, including the journey from London to Disneyland Paris, amidst economic concerns.
But the demand is definitely there from passengers. Even ignoring the fact that the direct route could shave two hours off travel time to Bordeaux, there’s a clear desire from customers to save money. There’s also the matter of reduced carbon emissions, with Eurostar estimating that one flight gives off the same emissions as 13 Eurostar journeys. Additionally, with the announcement of the sleeper trains to Berlin, which will start running in May, there’s clear evidence of the support of the international train journeys.
We’ve got our fingers crossed for more lines, more services, and more direct trips for us to take advantage of. If all goes to plan, we’ll be on the next train out (in 2026) direct to the City of Wine! (And we just might not come back…)