The LGV Perpignan-Figueres is an international high speed rail line which is currently under construction. Work began on 15 November 2004, with service currently scheduled to begin in February 2009. The 44.4 km long line will cross the French-Spanish border between Perpignan and Figueres through an 8.3 km tunnel bored under the Col du Perthus.
Spanish rail connects to the European network
The track on the new line will be standard gauge electrified to 25 kV 50 Hz, consistent with the French LGV
and Spanish AVE
high-speed rail networks. This will be the first international connection in the AVE
network. It will be followed by another connection to France near the Atlantic coast in the Basque country
. Another connection via the Huesca
line is also under study. Currently, both rail connections between France and Spain involve a break-of-gauge
. Passengers and cargo must either change trains, or the trains must pass through gauge-changing installations at Irun
or Port Bou
line will be the first connection without a break-of-gauge.
Upon completion of the Madrid - Barcelona high-speed line (20 February 2008) and the line Barcelona - Figueres (2012), trains will be able to travel between the two countries without stopping. Until completion of the Montpellier - Perpignan LGV, however, the connection will require special trainsets. That portion of the line is currently electrified to 1,5 kV DC, not the standard 25 kV 50 Hz. Currently only TGV trainsets are capable of running under both voltages. France has yet to commit to the extension of the LGV south of Montpellier.
Unlike the other LGV and AVE lines built to date, the Perpignan-Figueres line will be open to both high-speed trains and freight, the maximum grade being limited to 1.2%. The contract to build the line was awarded on 17 February 2004
to the TP Ferro consortium, a joint venture of Eiffage
) and Dragados
). The group will construct the line for an estimated cost of approximately €1.1 billion, and operate the line for 50 years. It will receive a public subsidy
of €540 million split between the European Union
, France and Spain.
Effects on travel
The beginning of service on this line should greatly improve passenger journey times. Travel times between Paris
and Barcelona are projected at 5:35, and Madrid to Perpignan at 3:50. Rail journeys of less than 4 hours are generally considered to be competitive with airlines. From Barcelona, several destinations in southern France are likely to be within this range, such as Marseilles