France: Saint Varent-Parthenay line will reopen in 2023 after eight years

Parthenay viaduct. Image: Flickr. Daniel Jolivet

The renovation process of a railway line in western France, unused since 2015, started earlier in November. The 30-kilometres-long section, connecting Saint Varent and Parthenay, should reopen for freight transportation, with trains operating at a speed of 60 km/h, by the end of 2023.

As SNCF Reseau, the French infrastructure manager stated, works for the renovation of this line started on 4 November. The line plays a significant role in connecting the Nouvelle-Aquitaine regions with the Pays de la Loire one, in the northwest of the country. Once the works are completed, moreover, it will be possible to reopen freight traffic on this line via the Charentes and Aquitaine in the southwest of France.

The line was closed in 2015 because maintenance costs had become too high for SNCF Reseau. Rumors on a reopening already started in 2020, when Carriere Roy, France’s largest granules extraction centre, claimed they needed the rail connection to reopen to avoid using road transportation. The start of renovation works was planned for the end of April 2022 but only started earlier this month.

More specifics on the Saint Varent-Parthenay project

As SNCF explained, “the project entails the renewal of 33 kilometres of track, maintenance and repair of engineering structures, earthworks and hydraulic structures, modernization of safety installations at level crossings, regeneration and simplification of signaling installations, and modernization of telecommunications facilities”.

The total cost for the project revolves around 15,5 million euros. The State and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region are the largest investors, which will each cover over 44 per cent of the total. The rest will be financed by the Departmental Council of Deux-Sèvres, the Community of Communes of Thouarsais, the Community of Communes Airvaudais-Val du Thouet, Carrières Roy, and the company Amaltis.

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Author: Marco Raimondi

Marco Raimondi is an editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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