The agreement is in line with the recent Law on Mobility (LOM) which means lines of “national interest” will remain wholly financed by central government. In Pays de la Loire this concerns the Alençon - Le Mans section of the Caen - Tours line and the La Roche-sur-Yon - La Rochelle part of the Nantes - Bordeaux main line.
Under the deal, the following lines will receive funding of between 20% and 40% from the national government: Nantes - Châteaubriant, Châteaubriant - Retiers on the line to Rennes, Clisson - Cholet, La Possonnière - Cholet, Nantes - St Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, Ste Pazanne - Pornic and La Roche-sur-Yon - Les Sables d’Olonne. Responsibility for the La Roche-sur-Yon - Bressuire line will be transferred entirely to the region which has asked infrastructure manager SNCF Network for a report on the cost of maintaining the line.
In addition, the reopening of the Cholet - Les Herbiers line will be included in the accord after initial results from a study confirmed the line’s potential. The results of the final study will be revealed in late 2020 and will lead to a further study into the infrastructure work required and rolling stock needed to introduce a regular service.
The Cholet - Les Herbiers line passes close to the Le Puy du Fou leisure complex which attracts about 2.3 million visitors a year, currently all arriving by car. A 16km section of the line is open between Mortagne-sur-Sèvre and Les Herbiers, with a seasonal heritage service provided by the Vendée Railway.