http://www.europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/07/329&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=enBrussels, 15 March 2007
Inauguration of the TGV Est high-speed line: high-speed rail link launched between Paris and Bratislava
Jacques Barrot, European Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, will inaugurate the TGV Est high-speed line on 15 March 2007. This will complete the first phase of work on the largest railway engineering project at the start of this century, which the European Union has cofinanced to the tune of €241 million. From June 2007, the new rail link will bring Strasbourg within 2 h 20 m of Paris and open the way to high-speed travel between France, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg. The 300 kilometres of track already built between Paris and Baudrecourt in Lorraine are the first section of a 1 500-kilometre European railway line intended to link Paris and Bratislava via Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Munich and Vienna.
“The movement of people is one of the keys to the building of Europe and to trade. By making Europe more accessible, the TGV Est high-speed line will create new economic prospects for the cities and regions through which it passes. This innovative line will make it possible to increase mobility while at the same time expanding what is the safest and most environmentally friendly mode of transport. The line will eventually become the French section of the 'Magistrale pour l'Europe', a 1 500-kilometre rail link between Paris and Bratislava intended to serve the heart of the continent, where 10% of the Union’s population lives” says Jacques Barrot, welcoming the development.
“The inauguration of this high-speed line marks an important stage in the building of this trans-European corridor" adds Mr Balázs, European coordinator of this priority transport-network project .
The line cuts travelling time by half and improves services to France's large eastern region. The new high-speed route brings Strasbourg within 2 h 20 m of Paris; Metz and Nancy are within 1 h 30 m, and Reims within 45 m. Three new stations - Champagne-Ardenne TGV, Meuse TGV and Lorraine TGV - have been built to provide direct interprovincial links. It also opens the way to high-speed travel to Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg: the journey time from Frankfurt to Paris will be 3 h 45 m instead of the current 6 h 15 m.
The fastest line in Europe, with a new speed record of 547 km/h and trains running at a commercial speed of 320 km/h, the TGV Est high-speed line is a technological miracle. Its construction has beaten all records: 60 million cubic metres of earth shifted, 12 million tonnes of materials transported (1 333 times the weight of the Eiffel Tower), 338 bridges, viaducts and wildlife culverts, 1 200 metres of track laid every day, and from 10 June 2007, when the line will be opened to the public, 11 million passengers are expected every year.
The line was financed by 22 partners. Out of the budget for trans-European transport networks, the EU has invested €230 million in the first phase of the work, or 7% of the total cost. The Community contribution, which is particularly large, makes TGV Est one of the EU’s most-funded transport projects to date.
For more informations : http://pleinsfeuxsurlalgv.com/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6450973.stmFrance to open fastest rail link
The project was launched in 2002
France is to inaugurate its fastest rail link to date that will see trains travelling at 320km/h (200mph).
The LGV-Est line will connect Paris with the eastern city of Strasbourg, cutting travel time from the current four hours to two hours, 20 minutes.
Passengers travelling further east to other EU states will also benefit after the launch of the link on 10 June.
Thursday's event will be marked with a grand light show staged along the 300km (185-mile) railway line.
"Some 37 million Europeans can be reached," TGV-East director Alain Le Guellec said. "A network of high-speed links is being put into place with the rest of Europe."
Train v plane
Mr Le Guellec predicted that the "transport revolution" represented by the new line should lead to growth in traffic in the order of 65% by 2011, but he cautioned against predictions of instant success.
"The LGV-Est is an outstanding technical, human and commercial adventure," he said. "But will it be profitable? That's another question."
Air France officials have expressed fears that the new line could have a considerable impact on the one million passengers the airline currently flies to cities in eastern France every year.
It has pledged to reduce fares in a bid to counter the competition.
Big project, big numbers
The 4bn-euro (£2.7bn; $5.3bn) project was launched in 2002, with dozens of financial partners - including the governments of France and Luxembourg - sharing the cost.
Hubert du Mesnil, president of RFF, the company that built the line, said the 78,000 metric tons of steel used in the rails is the equivalent of building "eight Eiffel Towers".
He added that 64 million cubic metres of earth had been removed since the start of construction in 2002. That is nine times the volume of material extracted to build the Channel Tunnel, linking France to the UK.
A total of 338 bridges, viaducts and tunnels to allow animals to cross the line had to be constructed, while archaeologists carried out digs along the route at 400 sites, ranging in date from the prehistoric Neanderthal period to World War I.
A second phase of the project is planned, adding a further 100km (62 miles) of track by 2015.
France's TGV trains - launched more than two decades ago - cover a network of 1,500km (930 miles) with an average speed of 300km/h (185mph).