Publié le 15/04/2015 - Mis à jour le 13/07/2017
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GPSO in the Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées regions

Considered as a strategic issue for the Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées regions, the Large South West Railway Project (GPSO) includes the creation of new lines and the modernisation of the existing network. It aims to make both long journeys and daily travel easier by reducing travel times and making the South West easier to reach. Ultimately, the GPSO will also provide new capacity for trans-Pyrenean railway freight transport.

Calendar

2005-2006

Public meetings for the Bordeaux-Toulouse and Bordeaux-Spain lines

2009-2013

Definition of the passage zones followed by the routes for the new line projects (in consultation with local stakeholders) and approval granted by ministerial decisions

2014-2016

Public utility enquiries and decisions regarding the public utility of the projects (in accordance with the instructions received from the State)

À partir de 2016

Formal commitments from the State, detailed studies, land acquisitions, additional procedures, financing agreement for the implementation and works phase

An ambitious programme to travel better and faster

The Large South West Railway Project (GPSO) includes several programmes.

Phase 1 – creation of the new Bordeaux-Toulouse and Bordeaux-Dax lines (327 km)

As an extension of the LGV Tours-Bordeaux high-speed line, these new high-speed passenger lines will make North-South travelling easier (between Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Spain). The Atlantic and Mediterranean will also be better connected: from Bordeaux it will be possible to reach Marseille and Barcelona in less than 4 hours. A common 55 km long section will also make it possible to reach Toulouse from the south of the Aquitaine region without having to go through Bordeaux.

In addition, this project includes the creation of 3 new railway stations in Agen, Montauban and Mont-de-Marsan. A stop called “Sud Gironde” is also planned for the regional high-speed railway service.

The Bordeaux-Toulouse section should be operational in 2024 and the Bordeaux-Dax section in 2027.

Phase 2 - creation of the new Dax-Spain line (91 km)

This mixed rail line (220 km/h for passengers and 100 km/h for freight) will improve train service between France and Spain. It will provide additional capacity to develop trans-Pyrenean freight railway transport (the “Atlantic Corridor” of the European Union). This improvement will contribute to a better railway-road balance for freight transport.

Commissioning of this line is scheduled for 2032. A Traffic Observatory has also been created in the Basque Country to monitor changes in railway traffic on existing lines and this body is continuing its work.

Upgrades to the existing lines to the south of Bordeaux (12 km)

To meet the mobility needs of daily travel, a 3rd track will be created between the marshalling yard of Hourcade and Saint-Médard-d’Eyrans. It will increase the frequency and regularity of trains (especially TER trains). A 4th track will also be built perpendicularly to the train stops. In addition, 4 train stops will be upgraded to set up a multimodal transport hub (using various modes of transport during a single travel). Finally, the elimination of 6 level crossings has been planned in order increase safety levels.

Upgrades to the existing line to the north of Toulouse (19 km)

The purpose of these works is to improve railway service coverage in the region. Thanks to these works, the capacity of the network will also be increased (in anticipation of the rise in railway traffic), and it will be possible for high-speed trains to be received in the heart of Toulouse. To this end, the Saint-Jory-Toulouse-Matabiau section will be upgraded to 4 tracks. Moreover, some train stops will be improved (creation of a partial last stop in Castelnau-d’Estrétefonds and a railway/underground interconnection between the stop at Route de Launaguet and the underground station named “La Vache” on line B.

The challenges of the Large South West Railway project

From a general point of view, the GPSO will reduce travelling times between regions and will improve their attractiveness. This programme will provide the regions of Midi-Pyrénées and Aquitaine with new opportunities to boost their dynamism and increase exchanges (culture, tourism, leisure activities, university cooperation, etc.).

The GPSO is also an important part of the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T). Its two branches belong to the central network of the TEN-T as defined in December 2013. As for the Bordeaux-Spain section, it is considered one of the priority European Corridors both for passenger and freight transport.

Key figures

  • faster travelling times (best times: Paris-Toulouse in 3 hours and 10 min; Paris-Bayonne in 3 hours and 25 min in phase 1 and 3 hours and 15 min in phase 2; Paris-Bilbao in 2 hours and 55 min in phase 1 and 1 hour and 55 min in phase 2)
  • A common section of 55 km between the south of Bordeaux and the south of the Gironde department; 167 km for the south of the Gironde department and Toulouse and 105 km for the south of the Gironde department and Dax.
  • passenger trains travelling at a maximum speed of 320 km/h

 

 

Many concrete actions in favour of the human and natural environment

From the very beginning of the work on the definition of the route, priority was given to limiting as much as possible the impact of the project. To this end, SNCF Réseau has adopted a three-fold approach:

  1. Avoiding the most sensitive zones
  2. Reducing the effects of the project by adapting it as necessary (e.g. checking that the infrastructures do not change the flow of waterways, but ensure “hydraulic transparency”)
  3. Compensating the residual impact (e.g. landscape adjustments, sound barriers)

Considerable effort was focused on integrating the project into its environment, through the implementation of several actions:

  • limiting the height of the infrastructure (to make it less visible on the outskirts of the inhabited areas)
  • pairing with existing infrastructures (motorways), if possible, in order to avoid the creation of new environmental impacts
  • preservation of ecological corridors (pathways frequently taken by wildlife)
  • protection of biodiversity

This approach resulted in the adoption of 21 sustainable development commitments by the project owner. These commitments are applied throughout the entire study phase.

Planned environmental actions account for a total of 12% of the investments for this project.

Listening, talking, exchanging views – consultation at the heart of the project

The development of the GPSO project included extensive consultation with the relevant stakeholders (elected officials, associations, neighbouring residents, etc.). The consultation process during the project studies (definition of functionalities, passage zones and selection of the route) was an ongoing process. Thus, nearly half of the routes for the new lines submitted as part of the public utility enquiry were a direct result of this “co-development”.

This consultation process is not completed and will continue in the future during the project adjustments (additional studies following the declaration of public utility of the project).