THE French Ministry of Transport has approved the route for two new high-speed lines totalling 417km that will serve the southwest of the country. The lines will extend the Sud-Europ Atlantique high-speed line, currently under construction between Tours and Bordeaux, southeast to Toulouse and south to Hendaye on the Spanish border.
THE world's first open-access high-speed rail operator, NTV, has announced the launch date for its new Italo service. Trains will start running on April 28 on the Milan - Florence - Rome - Naples route. Services will be gradually expanded as NTV's fleet of 25 AGV trains, being supplied by Alstom, becomes available so that by the end of the year services will run to Turin, Venice and Salerno.
PORTUGAL'S Ministry of Economy has announced the construction of a high-speed line between Lisbon and the Spanish border will be "definitively abandoned" following a report by the country's audit commission, which claims contracts awarded for the Poceirão - Caia section were illegal.
THE first daily high-speed rail service, operated jointly by German Rail (DB) and French National Railways (SNCF), started today between Frankfurt and Marseille. The service, which is operated by 320km/h double-deck TGVs and uses the Rhine-Rhône high-speed line, cuts the journey time by 90 minutes.
THE recently-appointed chairman of California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), Mr Dan Richard, says the cost of building the planned 1100km high-speed network in the state should cost less than the $US 100bn suggested by others, including the project's critics, by adopting an incremental approach.