Saturday, 31 October 2015

High Speed Ahead

All the way up from Kenitra we saw a major civil engineering project running parallel to the motorway. Beloved correctly surmised that this was a High Speed Rail Link being built. It is the first High Speed Rail Line in Africa.
The original 2010 report announced that the track would be operational by the end of 2015. The first stage will link Tangiers with Kenitra and the second stage extend the line to Rabat and Casablanca. The rail journey time from Tangiers to Casablanca will reduce from 5hr45min to 2hr10min.  

The funding is $585 million from the Moroccan government, $1.2 billion form France, $122 million from the King Hassan II Fund for Development, $1.5 billion in loans, and the remaining costs being met by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.
There are questions as to whether the money would be better spent on education and health care but I suppose that governments like to put there money into big projects where they can see what it's been spent on.
 Certainly, even behind schedule, Morocco is way ahead of the UK in HSR and they will have 183km on the opening of the first stage. The UK HS1 is ony 114km. (HS2 will add another 225km to Birmingham by 2026 if target times are met).The rolling stock was delivered in July in accordance with the original completion date but must only be being used on the standard line for now.

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