|Status||Operational, partly under construction|
|Line length||300 km (190 mi)|
|No. of tracks||Double track|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||25 kV 50 Hz|
|Operating speed||320 km/h (200 mph)|
The LGV Est européenne (often shortened to LGV Est) is an extension to the French high-speed rail network which currently connects Vaires-sur-Marne (near Paris) and Baudrecourt (near Metz and Nancy), and will in the future connect Vaires-sur-Marne and Vendenheim (near Strasbourg). 106 km (66 mi) is still under construction, and 300 km (190 mi) in service. The line provides fast services between Paris and the principal cities of eastern France and Luxembourg, as well as to several cities in Germany and Switzerland. It also enables fast connections between eastern France and other French regions already served by TGV, to the southeast, the west and southwest, and to the north, with extensions towards Belgium.
The line passes through the French regions of Alsace, Lorraine, Champagne-Ardenne and Île-de-France. The first 300 km (190 mi) section of this new route, linking Vaires-sur-Marne near Paris to Baudrecourt in the Moselle, entered service on 10 June 2007. Constructed for speeds up to 350 km/h (220 mph), for commercial service it is initially operating at a maximum speed of 320 km/h (200 mph), and was the fastest service in the world until the Wuhan–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway opened in 2009. It is the first line in France to travel at this speed in commercial service, the first to use ERTMS, the new European rail signalling system and the first line also served by German ICE trains.
The construction of the new line has been split into two phases:
- 300 km (190 mi) on relatively flat land from Vaires-sur-Marne (Seine-et-Marne) near Paris to Baudrecourt (Moselle), where it joins the conventional Metz-Saarbrücken and Metz-Strasbourg lines, opened June 2007;
- 106 km (66 mi) on more hilly terrain from Baudrecourt to Vendenheim (Bas-Rhin) near Strasbourg, with completion expected in 2016. Until then, TGV runs between these two cities via the existing Metz-Strasbourg line at the 160 km/h normal speed for the line. Preparatory work started in 2009 with main construction beginning in 2011.
On 2 September 2009, infrastructure manager RFF announced the tendering for the second phase. Financing was finalized on 1 September 2009, with a mix of sources ranging from the French and Luxembourgish governments, regional governments, the EU, and RFF.
Journey times have decreased as follows:
|From||To||Original Time||First Phase||Second Phase|
|Paris||Strasbourg||4h 00||2h 20||1h 50|
|Paris||Reims||1h 35||0h 45||-|
|Paris||Sedan||2h 50||2h 00||-|
|Paris||Charleville-Mézières||2h 30||1h 35||-|
|Paris||Nancy||2h 45||1h 30||-|
|Paris||Metz||2h 45||1h 25||-|
|Paris||Luxembourg||3h 55||2h 05||-|
|Luxembourg||Strasbourg||2h 10||-||1h 25|
|Paris||Basel||4h 55||3h 20||-|
|Paris||Zürich||5h 50||4h 35||-|
|Paris||Frankfurt||6h 15||3h 50||-|
|Paris||Stuttgart||6h 10||3h 40||3h 10|
|Paris||Saarbrücken||4h 00||1h 50||-|
Besides the construction of the LGV, the project includes:
- construction of three TGV stations:
- upgrades and improvements to terminal lines and facilities, especially between the Gare de l'Est station in Paris and Vaires-sur-Marne and on the Strasbourg–Kehl main line.
- modernisation of city centre stations
- electrification of lines through the Vosges valleys to permit seamless TGV running
Earthworks for the first phase between Vaires-sur-Marne and Baudrecourt started in spring 2002. The contractors took three years to complete the earthworks and some 327 pieces of structural work as well as re-establishing communications for people and wildlife. Tracklaying and building the new stations started in 2004.
As the first infrastructure project of its kind to be declared a public utility by the Ministry of the Environment, the LGV Est is also the first railway to be financed largely by the French regions and the European Union (EU). The main contractor for the project is RFF (Réseau ferré de France), the state-owned company responsible for managing the French rail infrastructure.
Civil engineering works were distributed in eight contracts which were awarded after bidding by five companies: SNCF, ISL[disambiguation needed], Tractebel, Scétauroute and Setec. This is the first time there has been competition for the construction of a TGV line since reform of the rail system in 1997 and the involvement of RFF. SNCF Engineering, in partnership with EEG Simecsol succeeded in obtaining four of the contracts (including one for the second phase), this being 50% of the civil engineering project. Moreover, it directed the entire superstructure works project (track, signals and electrification) under the responsibility of Réseau Ferré de France.
The total cost will be about €4 billion, apportioned as follows:
- 61% public funds
- French government
- 17 local authorities
- European Union
- 17% RFF
- 22% SNCF (including €800 million for TGV rolling stock)
The LGV Est has been the subject of public debate for several reasons:
- The 2006 commencement of first phase service was pushed back to 10 June 2007.
- This was the first LGV construction in which local communities had to contribute to the funding together with the state government and European Union. The contribution was fixed following a capital structure group discussion of the communities, depending on the time decrease for users in relation to the Île de France. Alsace has therefore had to pay almost €300 million. This financial model continues for the second phase, and is used for other new LGV lines as well.
- 22 May 1992: French-German La Rochelle summit; commitment by France and Germany to create a high-speed rail line linking the two countries, comprising a northern branch via Saarbrücken-Mannheim and a southern branch via Strasbourg-Karlsruhe
- 14 May 1996: declaration of public utility
- 2001: refurbishment of a number of stations in Germany (for example Kaiserslautern) and launch of infrastructure work in Germany (line upgrading for 200 km/hour on sections of the conventional line between Saarbrücken and Mannheim)
- 28 January 2002: official beginning of works for first phase between Vaires-sur-Marne and Baudrecourt
- 18 December 2003: government of Jean-Pierre Raffarin announces approximately 50 improvement projects, of which eight are for the TGV, including second phase works due to begin about 2010; additionally, connection of TGV Est with ICE to occur between 2007 and 2010
- 19 October 2004: laying of the first LGV Est rail at Saint-Hilaire-au-Temple (Marne) by the transport minister, Gilles de Robien; earthworks are 80% complete and of the 338 structural projects, 290 (of which 14 are viaducts) are complete
- June 2006: the catenary between Marne and Meuse is powered
- 31 October 2006: the catenary for the entire length of the line is powered to enable testing
- 13 November 2006: beginning of technical testing of the central 210 km of the line using specialized trains to check correct track geometry, etc., at speeds up to 320 km/h
- 25 January 2007: An initial budget of €94 million is allocated to the second phase of the line between Baudrecourt and Strasbourg
- 30 January 2007: The power is on over the whole length of 300 km.
- 1 February 2007: The control centre at Pagny-sur-Moselle is opened.
- 13 February 2007: A new world record for train speed is unofficially set by a TGV during tests on the LGV Est.
- 3 April 2007: An official new world speed record for conventional trains of 574.8 km/h is set by a TGV on the LGV Est.
- 9 June 2007: The inaugural voyage of the LGV Est is completed (see below).
- 10 June 2007: The LGV Est opens for commercial service.
- 16 May 2008: First Stop of ICE-MF due to a transformer fire on this route.
- 29 October 2009: the European Commission announced that LGV Est's second phase has been awarded 76€M, out of total costs of 633.3€M. The Commission stated the funding had been brought forward to accelerate construction due to the economic crisis.
- June 2010: Construction begins on phase 2
World speed record
A series of high speed trials, named Operation V150, were conducted on the LGV Est prior to its June 2007 opening using a specially modified train. The trials were conducted jointly by SNCF, TGV builder Alstom, and LGV Est owner Réseau Ferré de France between 15 January 2007 and 15 April 2007. Following a series of increasingly high speed runs, the official speed record attempt took place on 3 April 2007. The top speed of 574.8 km/h (159.6 m/s, 357.2 mph) was reached at kilometre point 191 near the village of Le Chemin, between the Meuse and Champagne-Ardenne TGV stations, where the most favourable profile exists.
The 515.3 km/h speed record of 1990 was unofficially broken multiple times during the test campaign that preceded and followed the certified record attempt, the first time on 13 February 2007 with a speed of 554.3 km/h, and the last time on 15 April 2007 with a speed of 574.8 km/h.
On 9 June 2007, the TGV Est made its inaugural voyage, leaving from the Gare de l'Est at 7:36am. Notable passengers included: François Fillon, the French Prime Minister, Alain Juppé, the Minister of Sustainable Development, and the Argentinian Ambassador to France. The Prime Minister hailed this event as "a beautiful symbol of the capacity of our country to innovate when it is united, a symbol of European France, of the knowledge of French businesses, and a symbol that gives confidence in the future." He hailed this achievement as "a union by train between France and its German, Luxembourgish, and Swiss partners, between the European institutions and the [French] capital."
On 10 June 2007, the first phase of the LGV Est opened for commercial service.
- Colin Taylor (September 2007). "TGV Est lifts the record". Railway Gazette International.
- "Premiernfahrt nach Paris" (in German). Deutsche Bahn AG. Archived from the original on 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2007-12-06.
- Staff writer (2006). Die Bahn am Ball (in German). Deutsche Bahn AG. p. 96.
- German news - Expatica
- "2001-02-01". Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- Associated Press (3 April 2007). "French Train Hits 357 MPH Breaking World Speed Record". Fox News. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "Official 2007 Record Website". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
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