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Overview map of the high-speed connections from Barcelona towards France, both under construction and recently finished.
Muga Viaducto in the Pont de Molins village, without noise protection screens
TGV
TGV LGV Sud-Est TGV LGV Atlantique
TGV LGV Rhône-Alpes TGV LGV Nord
TGV LGV Méditerranée TGV LGV Est
TGV LGV Interconnexion Est  
TER
  Alsace   Nord-Pas de Calais
  Haute Normandie   Picardie
  Champagne Ardenne   Lorraine
  Basse Normandie   Bretagne
  Centre   Bourgogne
  Franche Comté   Pays de la Loire
  Poitou-Charentes   Limousin
  Auvergne   Rhône Alpes
  Aquitaine   Midi Pyrénées
  Languedoc Roussillon   Provence Alpes-Côte-d'Azur
  Corse    
SNCF Île-de-France/Transilien
  Est   Nord
  Saint-Lazare   Montparnasse
  Paris-Lyon  
RER
  line A   line D
  line B   line E
  line C
Réseau Express de l'Aire urbaine Lyonnaise (REAL)

The LGV Perpignan-Figueres is an international high speed rail line between France and Spain. The line will connect two cities on opposite sides of the border, Perpignan in Roussillon, France, and Figueres in Catalonia, Spain. It consists of a 44.4-kilometre (27.6 mi) line which crosses the FrenchSpanish border via the Perthus Tunnel, an 8.3-kilometre (5.2 mi) tunnel bored under the Perthus Pass.[1] Construction of the line by the TP Ferro consortium began on 15 November 2004 and was completed on 17 February 2009, but no services run yet, as the station at Figueres in Spain is still under construction.

Contents

Spanish-French rail connections

The track on the new line will be standard gauge electrified to 25 kV 50 Hz, consistent with the French LGV and Spanish AVE high-speed rail networks.[2] Traditional Spanish rail lines are broad gauge, so rail connections between France and Spain have involved a break-of-gauge. Passengers and cargo must either change trains, or the trains must pass through gauge-changing installations at the border. This line will be the first connection without a break-of-gauge[3] and the first international connection to the AVE network. Another connection to France near the Atlantic coast in the Basque country is planned, and a link via Huesca is under study.

Construction

Unlike other LGV and AVE lines built to date, the Perpignan-Figueres line will be open to both high-speed trains and freight, the maximum grade being limited to 1.2%.[2] The contract to build the line was awarded on 17 February 2004 to the TP Ferro consortium, a joint venture of Eiffage (France) and Dragados (Spain).[1] The group constructed the line for an estimated cost of approximately €1.1 billion, and will operate the line for 50 years.[4] It will receive a public subsidy of €540 million, split between the European Union, France and Spain.

Figueres railway station

The line passes to the west of the town, and a new station is being built at Vilafant.[5] It is planned to divert the existing line, so that local trains can call at this station, and close the existing railway station in the centre of the town,[6] although at first a temporary station will be built on the high speed line.[7]

Services

Test running started in November 2008, and the international section officially opened on 17 February 2009, although no services currently run as the station at Figueres is still under construction.[5][8][9] Services from Perpignan to Barcelona via a temporary station on the high speed line at Figueres[7] and then the classic line are planned from summer 2010.[10] This will give a one and half hour journey which is two hours quicker than currently via Portbou and Cerbère.[11] A new company jointly owned by Renfe and SNCF is to be formed to run services between Paris and Madrid. Ten new trains are to be purchased at a cost of €300 million.[12]

When the Barcelona to Figueres high-speed line is completed trains will be able to travel at high speed from Madrid to Perpignan and services from Lyon to Barcelona in under four hours are planned,[13] using the classic line in France from Perpignan to Montpelier. Opening of this line is planned for 2012, but it is thought this could be delayed to 2013 or 2014 due to delays in tunnelling at Girona.[14]

Effects on travel

When the line between Perpignan and Barcelona is complete, it will greatly improve passenger journey times. Travel times between Paris and Barcelona are forecast at 5 hours 35 minutes, and Madrid to Perpignan at 3 hours 50 minutes. Rail journeys of less than 4 hours are generally considered to be competitive with airlines. From Barcelona, several destinations in southern France are likely to be within this range, such as Marseilles, Lyon and Toulouse.

References

  1. ^ a b "Perpignan-Figueras High-speed Rail Line". Structurae. http://en.structurae.de/projects/data/index.cfm?id=p0000133. Retrieved 30 January 2009.  
  2. ^ a b "Perpignan-Figueres Cross-Border Railway, France". http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/perpignan/. Retrieved 30 January 2009.  
  3. ^ "La ligne TVG de Perpignan" (in French). http://histoireduroussillon.free.fr/Thematiques/Batiments/Histoire/TGV.php. Retrieved 30 January 2009.  
  4. ^ "Presentation on the project by TP Ferro" (in French) (PDF). http://www.uic.asso.fr/html/gv/cv-formagv2006/docs/vendredi/4_3_2306_plopez_tpferro_fr.pdf. Retrieved 30 January 2009.  
  5. ^ a b "La ligne TGV Perpignan-Figueres livrée dans 10 jours, pour rien" (in French). La Clau. 4 February 2008. http://www.la-clau.net/noticia/la-ligne-tgv-perpignan-figueres-livree-dans-10-jours-pour-rien-1781. Retrieved 8 February 2009.  
  6. ^ "Plans for Figurers Vilafant Station" (in Spanish) (PDF). El Periódico de Catalunya. http://www.elperiodico.com/EDICION/ED070306/CAS/CARP01/PDF/g030mR01.PDF. Retrieved 30 January 2009.  
  7. ^ a b "La gare TGV temporaire de Figueres sera prête en 2010" (in French). La Clau. 26 February 2009. http://www.la-clau.net/noticia/la-gare-tgv-temporaire-de-figueres-sera-prete-en-2010-1910. Retrieved 9 May 2009.  
  8. ^ "Interrogations sur les tarifs du TGV Perpignan-Figueres" (in French). La Clau. 10 October 2008. http://www.la-clau.net/noticia/interrogations-sur-les-tarifs-du-tgv-perpignan-figueres-1094. Retrieved 30 January 2009.  
  9. ^ "Tunnel with no trains". Railway Gazette International. 15 April 2009. http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view//tunnel-with-no-trains.html. Retrieved 20 May 2009.  
  10. ^ "17 février 2009 : le non-événement du TGV Perpignan-Figueres" (in French). La Clau. 17 February 2009. http://www.la-clau.net/noticia/17-fevrier-2009-le-non-evenement-du-tgv-perpignan-figueres-1857. Retrieved 9 May 2009.  
  11. ^ "Un "demi-TGV" fonctionnera entre Perpignan et Barcelone dès 2010" (in French). La Clau. 9 January 2009. http://www.la-clau.net/noticia/un-demi-tgv-fonctionnera-entre-perpignan-et-barcelone-des-2010-1584. Retrieved 30 January 2009.  
  12. ^ [Railway Herald Issue 205 http://www.railwayherald.org/magazine/pdf/RHUK/Issue205.pdf] p 25, 14 December 2009
  13. ^ "A Lyon en AVE a partir de 2012" (in Spanish). El País. 24 April 2009. http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/Sarkozy/Francia/tiene/discursos/ETA/elpepuesp/20090428elpepunac_5/Tes#despiece1. Retrieved 9 May 2009.  
  14. ^ "Le-LGV-Perpignan-Barcelone-encore-repousse-a-plus-tard-2013-ou-2014" (in French). La Clau. 25 July 2009. http://www.la-clau.net/noticia/le-tgv-perpignan-barcelone-encore-repousse-a-plus-tard-2013-ou-2014-2799. Retrieved 29 July 2009.  

External links

See also

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