RENFE-SNCF (TGV)

The high speed train service that crosses the France/Spain border to provide international daytime train journeys to/from Barcelona and Madrid is branded 'en coopéreation RENFE - SNCF' 

Reflecting the spirit of this co-operation French railways (SNCF) and Spanish railways (RENFE) share the provision of the trains. 

The French trains used for the service on the Paris - Barcelona route are 'EuroDuplex' trains - double decked TGV Duplex trains, which can cross borders.

On the OTHER routes between France and Spain, Spanish AVE trains are normally used.

Reservations:

Seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets for journeys by these trains.

Rail pass users will need to have made reservations prior to boarding (see below).

Key Features:

Max luggage allowance = 2 suitcases/large bags + item of hand luggage per person.

In addition to sockets by the seats power sockets are also available in the platforms/vestibules between coaches, you are encouraged to use these spaces between coaches to make mobile calls.

Staircases link the lower and upper levels and there are toilets on both levels.

However, if you want to access the bar counter, then it’s easier to move through the train at the upper level, as the serving counter is on the upper deck.

The upper deck offers better views, as they enable passengers to see over the sound barriers that line much of the track.

Target the lower deck if you have luggage and/or if you are tall, the lower deck can feel more spacious.

If you are tall and sat by the window on the upper deck, take care not to bang your head on the ceiling when you leave the seat.

The availability of Wi-Fi can be temperamental.
 

Catering:

There is no trolley service on TGV trains so you will need to go the bar coach if you want to purchase food and drink.

TGV Bar Menu (PDF)

Take care with food and drink, particularly un-opened bottles and drinks in cups and glasses. When the trains corner at high speed, drinks and food can fly off the table.

Boarding and on Board:

1.  Before arriving on the platform/track, check your ticket and find number of the coach in which your reserved set is located.

Then use the info screens on the platform/track, to check which zone you should wait in, for easy boarding into your coach.

2.  The coach/carriage numbers can be hard to spot as they are on the electronic info panel set into the body work of the train by the door.

3. Each carriage/coach only has one door. It won’t open automatically there will be a button to the right of the door (when exiting the train you will also need to use the button to open the doors)

4. Managing luggage:

If you are travelling 2nd class and have large items of luggage, don’t be tempted to locate your seat first, and then work out where to stow your luggage.

In the 2nd class seating saloons there are two luggage racks.

However, on both the lower and upper decks you have to walk by the main luggage racks to access the seating saloons.

If there's space on these racks then the advice is to make use of it - if you're prepared to accept that you won't be able to see your bags from your seat.

Luggage space is limited in the seating saloon, but if you've entered by the door to the coach in which you seat is located, then the smaller luggage rack is at the far end of the seating saloon.

However, if you'll be boarding an already busy train you'll be lucky to find space on this rack.

The above seat luggage racks are particularly small, and won’t accommodate items much larger than a large handbag.

Medium size bags will fit in the space between some of the seats.

The lower decks have more areas in which bags can be stowed away, but if you are travelling 1st class avoid utilising the space set aside for wheelchair users.

There is generally more space in which to stow luggage in 1st class, in the 1st class upper deck there are racks in the middle of the seating area that can accommodate large items.

5. If you DON'T have luggage with you, hang back and be amongst the last passengers to board.

All seats are reserved, so you won’t risk having no seat to travel in, and you can avoid being caught up in the scramble for luggage space.

6. Whether you have luggage or not keep your ticket you where you can access it easily, so that you can check your seat number as you enter the seating saloon.

The sequence of numbers can seem illogical, so take your time.

What you won’t see is any indication of the stations between which the seat is reserved for, all you have to do is look for the seat numbers and match it to the seat number on your ticket.

Bikes:

Bikes must be packed into a travel case, take it to the conductor on the platform before boarding the train and they will show you where to store it.

Using Rail Passes on TGV RENFE-SNCF train services:

Rail pass users will need to have made reservations prior to boarding (see below).

However, if you will be using a Eurail or InterRail pass you will need to make a separate reservation(s).

The fee for doing so depends on the distance you will be travelling. 

The price below is for Paris - Barcelona journeys, but the fee will be less for shorter journeys such as Montpellier - Barcelona.

Something to note is that your rail pass only has to be valid in France OR Spain.
So if you will be travelling with a 'one country pass' valid for France, you can use it to add Barcelona to your itinerary.

Paying for the reservation fee is likely to be cheaper than buying a separate ticket.

Catering
Availability
Restaurant
Bistro (Hot Food)
Bar (Cold Food)
Features
Availability
Double Deck
High Speed
Classes
First Class
Première/Primera
Second Class
Seconde/Segunda

Rail passes and reservations


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