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When the TGV est opened, the propaganda machine was all about "an european train tadi, tada, Europe going forward, lalallaaa".
SNCF und Europe, my (insert any profanity of your choice). As one who could use, will use and was using a train over the French-German border, I just tell you: I need more time, money and connections AFTER the TGV est than before. I just happen not to start from Paris.My bad.
I am against the privatization of the railways, because of the insanity of competition for a natural monopoly which asset were already financed by the taxpayer, but for inserting some managers with a bare minimum of experience with foreign forms of life, be it customers or other companies. Not only Enarques who only leave Paris for... what for, by the way?
Otherwise, be assured that you are not the only one struggling with the 4 letters code on the Parisian banlieues-trains. It is a secret code and you cannot be considered a "banlieusard" before knowing it by heart. I suspect it is like a mother tongue, you can only imbibe it from one's infancy. It was too late for me when I came to Paris.
La répartie est dans l'escalier. Elle revient de suite.
But there is France's centralism (despite the TGV Interconnexion), and the nasty but frequent policy to eliminate potential rail rivals to new high-speed trains. As a tourist, stopping in Strasbourg wasn't a problem for me, but the planning of my trip was made difficult with almost only TGV connections between Rennes and Le Mans, even considering potential changes (I had to buy a special TGV ticket) and only four non-TGV through connections between Le Mans and Paris. Despite DB's problems and some similar policies (most infamously the discontinuation of the InterRegio brand), I think the German IC (and RE) network alongside the ICEs is much more convenient.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
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