Lyon-Turin railway line one step closer to completion

Image: TELT

The new cross-border railway connection between Lyon in France and Turin in Italy is ready to proceed to the construction plans. Tunnel Euralpin Lyon Turin (TELT) awarded building contracts exceeding 3 billion euros following a tender procedure, which is considered the largest in Europe during the last two years. The final stage of construction includes excavating a tunnel through the Alps using four different French construction sites.

The Alpine tunnel might be the project’s flagship. However, construction works will also include developing a wide gauge railway line for heavy freight, a rolling motorway and a passenger highspeed line. The project is cofinanced by 40 per cent from the Connecting Europe Facility Program, while TELT is the promoter responsible for the realisation and operation of the cross-border line. Construction works are estimated to finish by December 2022.

Filling the gaps

The connection between Frace and Italy through this region is not new. Nevertheless, the old operating line runs through the mountains, making it challenging to handle much traffic. Understandably this is an issue because this link is an integral part of the TEN-T Mediterranean Corridor extending from Spain to central and eastern Europe and countries like Hungary.

With the new tunnel and upgraded railway lines, the Mediterranean Corridor will be finally complete and able to reach its full potential. After all, as the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency claims, “the Lyon-Turin line was the only missing link from the corridor”.

EU Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, also commented on the development saying that “the decision to award three contracts worth more than 3 billion euros is a significant step towards completing the Lyon-Turin rail connection. It will bridge a key missing link between France and Italy and help shift large volumes of cross-border traffic from road to rail. But it is more than a bi-national project, as it will become the nexus connecting the Iberian Peninsula to the Eastern part of the European Union”.

Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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