WHILE CRISIS engulfs the UK's first high speed railway line, France last week announced it was adding another line to its 4,700km TGV network.
Work is expected to start on the 375km Paris-Strasbourg line next year. The cost of track construction is estimated at a surprisingly low £1.87bn and will be financed by a mix of government and local authority finance.
Trains - capable of 320km/h - will be paid for separately from loans worth around £270M raised by state owned railway company SNCF.
Plans are for a phased construction programme, with phase one running for 250km from the Paris suburbs to Vandires near the eastern city of Metz, before connecting back to existing track. This is expected to cut journey times from Paris to Strasbourg by
1 hour 25 minutes.
Dedicated track will subsequently be extended to Strasbourg.
The project has taken several years to reach this stage following doubts about the ability of the new line to generate enough passenger traffic.