`The ICE/TGV highspeed train between Paris and Germany is of central importance to the Saarland, Maas says. `With travelling times of under 2 hours respectively, it links Saarland to the major business centers Frankfurt and Paris. So, the highspeed train connection is also an important locational factor both for our region and the Saarland.`. Since its start in 2007, the line has seen steadily growing numbers of passengers. The development up to now has exceeded the initial expectations of the railway companies. From June 10th 2007 when the the connection was launched to date, roughly 6.3 million international passengers were travelling with the highspeed trains running between Germany and France, of them 3.7 million people on the route via Saarbrücken. `This underlines the central significance of the connection both for Saarland and the Saarlanders`, Maas continued.
In order to further improve the attractiveness of the line, Saarland and its regional partners are striving for measures to further reduce travelling times and increase transport capacities beyond the presently 5 pairs of trains per day. That´s why Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate and the Département Moselle have signed the `Declaration of Baudrecourt` which demands the installation of two more pairs of trains on this route as well as measures to ameliorate the infrastructure and, thus, to achieve a reduction of travelling times.
As a consequence of the Declaration of Baudrecourt, a German-French working group was installed. Members of the working group are the DB AG and the French railway company RFF, but also representatives from private industry, Lorraine, Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate.
`We want to maintain the competitiveness of the TGV/ICE connection to and from Paris also in the future. To do so, additional joint efforts will be required to assure that Saarland wil go on profiting from this transport connection as it did in the last five years. That´s what we want to push forward offensively`, Maas said.