The high-speed super nation has championed again with the delivery of 500km worth of new track. Not just one but two high-speed lines have been commercially launched and will serve the west of France with the LGV Sud Europe Atlantique and LGV Bretagne – Pays de la Loire lines. SNCF is now offering the fastest journey time of two hours and four minutes between the capital and Bordeaux. Both lines are hoped to cut journey times in the west, boost regional tourism and improve the popularity of the Atlantic coastal regions nationally and internationally. Plans to boost infrastructure in the area first began in the 1990s and was finally carried out by a public-private partnership costing a grand total of €12 billion. These networks will become the ninth and tenth high-speed rail routes in an impressively connected high-speed country.
“I have a simple vision: TGV must remain accessible to everyone.”
“We will provide 5000 extra seats per day between Paris and Bordeaux with half hourly services during peak periods,” said Mrs Rachel Picard, CEO of SNCF Voyages. ( @SNCF ) “Our policy is to go for volume with low prices to transform travel. Our goal is to switch 100 percent of air travel on this route to train.”
The LGV Sud Europe Atlantique will be used by TGV trains and operated by SNCF. It is an extension of the LGV Atlantique and was inaugurated in February 2017. Demands for the route first stemmed from the heavy traffic along the existing rail line. Train tracks are only efficiently used when all trains are able to circulate at the same speed and have identical stops. The journey between Tours and Bordeaux will be shortened by around 50 minutes. SNCF predict the new line to increase annual ridership by five million passengers. The line was built by the consortium LISAE which will be responsible for operating and maintaining the line until 2061.
The tenth line, LGV Bretagne – Pays de la Loire, is another extension from the western branch of LGV Atlantique which first opened in 1989. It will be serviced by TGV trains and operated by SNCF. The total length of the route is roughly 214km of which 182km will be high speed. Current journey times from Paris to Rennes has been cut from 2 hours 4 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes, and SNCF anticipates that 1·5 million more passengers a year will be attracted by the new service. Running from Connerré near Le Mans to Rennes, the line includes a spur feeding into the existing main line to Angers and Nantes.
Both lines were built under public-private partnership concessions with majority of funding supplied by the French government. Extra resources were provided by SNCF, LISEA and the EU. Another important feature are the lines’ abilities to facilitate other trains that are not equipped with high-speed technology.
To celebrate the launch of the two lines, celebrations began at Rennes which welcomed special guests including President Macron and the Transport Minster, Elisabeth Borne. Speaking about the projects, Macron called for transport investment to be refocused on renovating conventional rail network and improving passengers’ daily travel. Additionally, he promised he would implement new transport legislation in 2018 to set priorities and ensure fundability.
“I have a simple vision: TGV must remain accessible to everyone,” Transport Minister, Borne declared. “We want to increase the number of people using rail.”
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