After ten years of discussion, a faster connection between Paris and Bordeaux looked certain yesterday after a key deal was agreed.
The €7.8 billion investment will be shared between the French rail network authority, Réseaux Ferrés de France (RFF), and a consortium of companies headed by construction firm Vinci.
302km of new tracks are planned between Tours and Bordeaux, completing the high speed link to the capital. Trains are expected to be running on the new line by early 2017.
RFF president Hubert du Mesnil said the route will carry an extra 4 million passengers a year "taking the market share for rail of the Paris Bordeaux route from 60% to 90%"
The project is the largest of its kind in Europe and will create over 1,300 new jobs.