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The Perpignan-Figueras high speed line is the second privately financed, cross-border rail link in Europe, the first being the Channel Tunnel.

But there are several key differences.

The Channel Tunnel was famously barred by Margaret Thatcher from using taxpayers' money and is, partly as a result, still suffering financially today.

The Perpignan-Figueras project is receiving subsidies from the French and Spanish governments worth $700M, just under 57% of the total project cost.

The private finance element includes $129M from TP Ferro shareholders Eiffage and ACS, plus $475M from a group of banks comprising Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Banco Español de Crédito, Caja Madrid, ING and Royal Bank of Scotland.

TP Ferro will repay the bank finance from access charges levied on the freight and passenger services that will use the tunnel.

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