Another multi-billion-euro project in Provence
TGVs cover the distance between Paris and Marseille in just slightly over three hours. Once in Marseille however, it takes them two and a half hours to reach Nice which is only 170 km distant.
Since 2001, TGVs (Trains à Grande Vitesse) have covered the distance between Paris and Marseille (750 kilometres) in just slightly over three hours. Once in Marseille however, it takes them nearly an equivalent amount of time - more than two and a half hours - to reach Nice, the French Riviera's capital and the country's 5th most populated city, which is only 170 kilometres distant.
As Western Europe's high-speed network keeps expanding, fixing the problem of this "missing link" has become a priority for public authorities, both national and regional.
After several years of study and some squabbling about the railway route, a final decision was reached seven months ago: new TGV tracks will be laid that will shorten the voyage from Marseille to Nice to one hour, and that of Paris to the Riviera's capital to less than four hours, from five hours and 40 minutes previously.
Known as "LGV (Ligne à Grande Vitesse) PACA", the project comes with a hefty price tag: the total required investment is on the order of 15 billion euros, including the upgrade of the local railway network.
By 2023-2025, the French Riviera's capital and France's fifth largest city (pop: 350,000) will be less than four hours from Paris.
That almost makes ITER look like a bargain.
Unlike ITER, which is funded by seven partners representing 34 nations, the bill for the LGV-PACA project will be footed by France alone.
The new high speed train connection could be operational by 2023-2025. It already makes Provence the only French region to host two multi-billion-euro projects.
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