All the questions you might have
about the future express link!

What is it?

This is the name of the proposed quarter-hourly nonstop rail service that will ultimately link Gare de l’Est train station with Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (Terminal 2) in 20 minutes.
The dedicated high-performance public transport service to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport is vital for the airport’s accessibility and the economic competitiveness of Paris and the Paris region.

It is also a major asset for the image of our country, and for the welcome we provide to tourists to France. Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport handled more than 62 million passengers in 2013 and is, thus, the main gateway to France.

what’s the

What services will be offered with the introduction of "CDG EXPRESS"?

The "CDG Express" project provides for a nonstop train every quarter of an hour from Gare de l’Est station, from 5:00 a.m. until midnight, 365 days a year. Dedicated reception areas for passengers will be created at Gare de l’Est station, as well as at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport.
On board "CDG Express", it is intended that passengers will have ample space for their luggage, flight information, tourist information, WiFi access, power outlets to charge mobile phones and tablets, etc.
Passengers will have access to flight information on the "CDG Express" platform, both at the station and at the airport.

“The consensus between the public authorities and the public companies concerned on the need for CDG EXPRESS has never been stronger”.

Augustin de Romanet – "Invest, The Financial Journal" – June 2014

Why create an Express link?

"CDG Express" aims to create a rail link between Paris and its airport with a high standard of service, on a par with that to be found in other major European and international capitals.
The existing means of getting to and from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport are not at the level that tourists and passengers are entitled to expect from an international airport:
A1 and A3 motorways: The many traffic jams mean that journey times between the centre of Paris and the airport can vary from between 30 minutes and 2 hours.
RER B: Despite recent improvements made to the line, particularly with the RER B+, the operating irregularities generated by traffic density may lengthen passengers’ journey times. It is therefore difficult to calculate exactly how long the journey will take. In addition, passengers who often have a lot of luggage cannot travel easily in trains that are sometimes overcrowded, especially at peak times. As for daily commuters, they are inconvenienced by the luggage belonging to airline passengers.

Why create an Express link?

Dedicated coaches: They are an alternative to taxis or the RER, but once again, journey times may vary depending on traffic conditions.
Taxis: They offer a high level of comfort but they too are dependent on the traffic on the A1 and A3 motorways.
Moreover, "CDG Express" will be able to absorb the expected growth in air traffic at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, with in the order of 80 million passengers by 2025. The existing modes of transport will not be able to cope with this expected increase in passenger numbers.

Why revive the "CDGEXPRESS" project?

The French State, as part of the announcements on the New Grand Paris (in March 2013), reiterated the need to create a nonstop link between central Paris and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, in addition to the services already in place for daily commuters.

What is the purpose of the "CDG EXPRESS STUDIES SAS" research company?

The "CDG Express Studies SAS" research company, in which the French State, Aéroports de Paris and Réseau Ferré de France (the owner and manager of the French rail network) are shareholders, is to conduct all the necessary studies for the completion of the "CDG Express" link. The founding act of this partnership took place on 3 June 2014 at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport in the presence of the Minister of State for Transport, Frédéric Cuvillier.

“I cannot guarantee that we will be able to welcome people to Paris-Charles de Gaulle properly by 2025 if this fixed link is not in place.”

Augustin de Romanet – RTL – 8 mars 2014

Why an alliance between RFF and Aéroports de Paris?

The partnership between Réseau Ferré de France and Aéroports de Paris will make it possible to combine the expertise of both infrastructure providers.

Why not reuse the studies conducted in 2005 for the project?

The technical studies conducted in 2005 are old. The rail network and traffic have changed since that time. It is therefore necessary to update the technical studies.
We should also remember that the traffic studies conducted more than 9 years ago did not take on board the effects of the New Grand Paris.

What will the route of the "CDG EXPRESS" be?

The chosen route seeks to separate the "CDG Express" lines from those of the RER B since they are two different operating modes.

How many kilometres of track will "CDG EXPRESS" consist of?

The "CDG Express" line will consist of 32 kilometres (20 miles) of track between Gare de l’Est and Terminal 2 at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, and will include 8 kilometres (5 miles) of new track.

How many kilometres of track will need to be built for "CDG EXPRESS"?

The chosen route will include 8 kilometres of new track from Villeparisis to reach Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. It will also be necessary to create a "point" that will join the northern track lines to the exit of Gare de l’Est.

Why is the work so long?

It is necessary to conduct numerous studies such as those related to traffic, infrastructure, etc. The construction work will take place in a dense area that is under operation, which will inevitably take time.

When will "CDG EXPRESS" be commissioned?

Work will commence in 2017, with the commissioning of "CDG Express" planned for 2023.

“My goal is for the work to begin within the next two and a half or three years, to be opened in 2023-2024. Actually, we need to be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Paris-Charles de Gaulle with a fixed link between central Paris and the airport.”

Augustin de Romanet – RTL – May 2014

How much will the work on "CDG EXPRESS" cost?

The cost is estimated at €1,645 million, under 2019 economic conditions, to which around €120 million worth of work to make an underground structure on the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport site should be added.

Will "CDG EXPRESS" be profitable?

The "CDG Express" project is not sufficiently profitable at this stage of initial estimates. This means that the joint subsidiary of RFF and Aéroports de Paris will not be able to deal with the occurrence of risks. However, there are a number of risks in the context of large infrastructure projects (construction risks, operational phase risks, financing risks, etc).
In concrete terms, the joint subsidiary will not be able to cope with the interest on the debt that it will have incurred to finance the investments that will be required in the first fifteen years of operating the infrastructure.
That is why an additional resource is required. This could take the form of a tax of around €1 on Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport’s non-transit airline passengers.

Why is the work so expensive?

OThe current near €1 billion estimated cost of the project is often compared with schemes that were previously under review.
However, it is important to remember that the current estimate is made for 2019 economic conditions. This means that an update over ten years and an amount of around €400 million must be taken into consideration. Some peripheral measures (work on a signal box, adapting tracks at Le Bourget, etc) that were not considered before must also be added to this.

Is the State going to contribute financially to "CDG EXPRESS"?

Although the State is behind the revival of the express link project between central Paris and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, it will not contribute financially to its implementation.

How much will a single ticket on "CDG EXPRESS" cost?

The fare could be €24. This is based on the 2023 value, the likely date of the commissioning of "CDG Express". This fare is very similar to fares in place at other express railway lines for major European airports. In 2014 values, the fare is €21 for London Heathrow and London Gatwick, €21 for Oslo and even €27 for Stockholm.

Why is the fare so high compared to the cost of an RER ticket?

The likely €24 fare is still competitive if a journey time of 20 minutes between Gare de l’Est and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport can be guaranteed.
On the other hand, it is not relevant to compare the price of an RER B ticket offering a travel time of between 30 and 50 minutes to reach the airport with that of a dedicated express link, which will do the journey in just 20 minutes. The current RER fare – €9.75 - could reach €12 by 2023 based on the assumption of an annual increase of 2-3%.
Finally, the services offered on board "CDG Express" will be nothing like those offered on board the RER B.

What are your traffic forecasts for the "CDG Express" line?

It is estimated that passenger traffic at the time of commissioning could be around 6 million people, then 8 million in the early 2030s, and more than 10 million in 2050.

Why such an investment when it would be sufficient to have nonstop RER B services from Gare du Nord?

It is difficult to fit nonstop trains between two stopping trains, especially at peak times. The nonstop trains would in fact be frequently slowed down so as not to catch up with the preceding RER B train. Such a system would lead to instability and a deterioration in the operation of the RER B.
The introduction of nonstop trains will not ensure a journey time of 20 minutes as guaranteed by "CDG Express". This is why it is important that "CDG EXPRESS" does not run on the RER B tracks.

"CDG EXPRESS" will link Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport to the centre of Paris in 20 minutes. This is essential!

Augustin de Romanet – Les Echos – Mai 2014

Isn’t the recently renovated RER B+ an alternative for getting to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport?

The renovated RER B+, which was commissioned in September 2013, helps to improve the service to local areas as part of daily commuting. It is not intended to replace a planned express link between the centre of Paris and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. Nor is the RER B+ suitable for passengers with luggage who have difficulty finding space, especially at peak times.
Finally, the RER B+ departing from Gare du Nord connects the airport in around 30/50 minutes with stopping trains and in 30-35 minutes with nonstop trains during off-peak hours.
The journey time of the RER B+ can therefore never match that of "CDG Express".

Why not create a lane reserved for taxis and buses on the A1 and A3 motorways?

The idea is nothing new! It had already been tested in 2009, on a 5-kilometre section in the direction of Paris. In June 2014, the government announced its desire to repeat the experiment on the A1, A3 and A6 motorways by opening up an existing lane (the hard shoulder) to taxis. While it is true that this solution will improve access to the airport and central Paris, it does not guarantee a specific journey time. Taxis will always be dependent on traffic conditions on the ring road or in the heart of the capital.

Why has Gare de l’Est rather than Gare du Nord been chosen for the departure and arrival of "CDG EXPRESS"?

Gare du Nord, one of Europe’s densest train stations in terms of traffic, is now saturated. Gare du Nord sees more than 200 million passengers per year. It is the busiest train station in Europe in terms of traffic.
Gare du Nord cannot host a dedicated express transport service between central Paris and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport in optimal conditions of comfort.
Gare de l’Est has the dual advantage of being able to accommodate the additional traffic generated by the "CDG Express" and to build platforms and provide dedicated service.

Will "CDG EXPRESS" be in competition with the Grand Paris metro project?

By no means! These are actually two complementary projects, but which do not have the same purpose. "CDG Express" is a nonstop, dedicated service to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport from Paris for airline customers. The Grand Paris metro is also intended to serve the airport from major economic hubs in the Paris region, but it is not a dedicated transport service for tourists, frequent travellers and airport stakeholders.
In addition, due to the increase in traffic in the Paris region over the next decade, all modes of transport will be needed.

Is the introduction of a new tax on airline tickets to finance "CDG EXPRESS" still topical?

This contribution will help to ensure the minimum profitability of the project to cover the risks of the infrastructure manager. This contribution is the counterpart for providing our passengers, arriving at or departing from Paris-Charles de Gaulle, with the option of choosing either to use or not to use "CDG Express". This contribution could amount to €1 if implemented in 2023, at the time of the likely launch of "CDG Express". It will not apply to passengers at Paris-Orly Airport, or to passengers connecting at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Improving access to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport will provide airlines with the right conditions for their development and increased operational efficiency.