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Inauguration of South Europe Atlantic SEA Tours-Bordeaux high Speed Line in France

The South Europe Atlantic (SEA) Tours-Bordeaux high speed line was inaugurated in France in the presence of French President, François Hollande, last month.

Balfour Beatty’s HS2 joint venture bid partner, Vinci, are an investor and shareholder within the consortium Lisea which built the SEA Tours-Bordeaux high speed line, in contract with SNCF Reseau. Vinci, in joint venture with Systra, will operate the line under a 50-year concession contract.

The new high speed line between Bordeaux and Paris spans 302km, with 10 links spanning a further 38km to connect the new line to other cities in southwest France, and will dramatically shorten journey times to 2 hours 4 minutes between the two cities with capacity for 20 million passengers a year.

The line brings with it a multitude of economic benefits, bringing areas between Paris and Bordeaux closer together and creating easier travel connections between Bordeaux and the main cities in southwest France. Additionally, the line will free up capacity on the existing rail line between Paris, Tours, Poitiers, Chatellerault, Angouleme and Libourne, as well as Orleans, Limoges and Toulouse. This will ease movement between these cities and help to re-invigorate the local areas.

In total, the project employed almost 10,000 employees with an investment of €7.8 billion from both public and private sector parties. Having been delivered one month ahead of schedule, the line is set to open to traffic on 2 July 2017.

France’s SEA Tours-Bordeaux high speed line has many similarities with the British HS2 line with regards to required expertise and capability to deliver such large-scale, mega infrastructure projects.

Balfour Beatty Vinci, a long established joint venture between two global infrastructure leaders recognised for their portfolio of large scale projects, has been shortlisted for four civil engineering packages of work for HS2 with a combined total of £3.3bn to £5.4bn. This includes Lot N1, the Long Itchington Wood Green Tunnel to Delta Junction/Birmingham Spur; Lot N2 the Delta Junction to West Coast Main Line Tie-in; Lot C1, the Chiltern Tunnels and Colne Valley Viaduct; and Lot C2, the North Portal Chiltern Tunnels to Brackley.

Source: Balfour Beatty

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