Engineers in Morocco are preparing to test the Arab world’s first high-speed railway this week with trains reaching 320 kilometres per hour, the country’s rail office said on Monday.
The 350-kilometre link between Casablanca and Tangiers via the capital Rabat will slash journey times between the North African country’s economic hubs by almost two thirds, to just over two hours.
Morocco’s TGV, which gets its name from the French abbreviation for high-speed trains, is set to enter service in summer 2018.
The project is 50 per cent financed by France with loans of around USD 2.4 billion.
It is set to go around 15 per cent over budget, according to figures released today.
The route, made more complex by hilly terrain and strong winds, required the building of several viaducts including one some 3.5 kilometres long.
The ONCF expects the line to attract six million travellers within its first three years.
Moroccan leaders have heralded the project as a key step in modernising the country’s infrastructure.
But opponents have criticised it, saying the money could have been better spent in a country where many live in poverty.
Source: International News agencies