Figueres-Vilafant: first TGV arrival from Paris,
|Termini||Gare de Perpignan
Figueres–Vilafant railway station
|Rolling stock||SNCF TGV Duplex
AVE Class 100 (from 2014)
RENFE Class 252 (freight services)
|Line length||44.4 km (27.6 mi)|
|No. of tracks||Double track|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||25 kV 50 Hz|
The LGV Perpignan–Figueres is an international high-speed rail line between France and Spain. The line connects 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 French–Spanish border via the 8.3-kilometre (5.2 mi) Perthus Tunnel bored under the Perthus Pass. It opened on 19 December 2010 with a TGV service from Paris via Perpignan to Figueres–Vilafant, and regular freight traffic started on 21 December 2010.
The line was formally opened on 27 January 2011.
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). The group constructed the line for an estimated cost of approximately €1.1 billion, and will operate the line for 53 years. It will receive a public subsidy of €540 million, split between the European Union, France and Spain. Test running started in November 2008, and the international section officially opened on 17 February 2009, but no services ran until December 2010 while a station at Figueres was constructed.
The track on the new line is standard gauge using 25 kV AC railway electrification at 50 Hz, consistent with the French LGV and Spanish AVE high-speed rail networks. The line is to be open to both passenger and freight trains, the maximum grade being limited to 1.2%. The design speed is 350 km/h.
Traditional Spanish rail lines are broad gauge based on the Spanish vara 1,668 mm (5 ft 5 21⁄32 in), 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 and the first international connection to the AVE network. France has left-hand traffic and Spain right-hand, so a flyover has been built around 10 km north of the border ( ). Another connection to France near the Atlantic coast in the Basque country is planned, and a link via Huesca is under study.
A TGV service from Paris via Perpignan started on 19 December 2010 to a temporary station at Figueres and a connecting service on the classic line on to Barcelona and Madrid. The total journey time from Paris to Barcelona has been reduced by 1h 15m to 7h 25m. Of that, 5h 30m is spent on the Paris to Figueres segment. Initially there was a service of two Paris-Figueres TGVs per day, which connected with two RENFE Alvia trains a day between Barcelona and Figueres via the conventional broad gauge line and a temporary double gauge track. From January 2013 there was a service of nine RENFE AVE trains a day between Figueres and Barcelona with eight services continuing on to Madrid.
RENFE started a standard-gauge freight service on 21 December 2010. As of January 2011 four freight trains a week run over the line from Barcelona, with journey times reduced by 6 hours: one train each way to Lyon, and one each way to Milan.
On 28 November 2013, RENFE and SNCF announced the opening of direct long-distance services from 15 December 2013, with daily trains between Paris - Barcelona, Toulouse - Barcelona, Lyon - Barcelona, Marseille - Madrid.
Lyon to Barcelona is expected to take less than four hours using the classic line in France between Perpignan and Nîmes. 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.
In May 2010 it was announced that tendering had started for the Nîmes–Montpellier bypass route. This will be the first stage in the link between the Spanish high-speed network and LGV Méditerranée and the line will carry a mix of freight and high-speed trains. A 25-year Public–Private Partnership agreement was signed in June 2012 and the line is expected to opened in December 2017.
Work on the Montpellier-Perpignan section is not expected to start until 2020, following public consultation beginning 2015.
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- "Break of gauge no more". Railway Gazette International (London). 18 January 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- Communiqué de presse Paris - Barcelone
- "A Lyon en AVE a partir de 2012". El País (in Spanish) (Madrid). 24 April 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2009.
- "New Paris to Madrid high-speed service in 2012". Railway Herald (205) (Scunthorpe). 14 December 2009. p. 25.
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- "Nîmes - Montpellier contract signed". Railway Gazette International (London). 29 June 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- "Southern LGV projects make progress". Railway Gazette International (London). 9 February 2011.
- LGV Map on Google Maps
- A photo of the end of the line
- Perpignan–Barcelona in 50 mins
- Entry on Ferrocarriles wiki (Spanish)
- SNCF FAQ on the line[dead link] (French)