The consortium, which comprises Bouygues Construction, Colas, Spie Batginolles, Alstom, Meridiam Infrastructure, and FIDEPPP, will be responsible for funding €1.5bn of the €2.28bn project. The remaining funds will come from the European Union and the French government (52%), local authorities (28%) and RFF (20%).

The 80km line, of which 60km will be for 300km/h operation, will extend the existing TGV Méditerranée line from Manduel to the east of Nîmes to Lattes to the west of Montpellier and will include seven viaducts. The line will have new stations at Manduel-Redessan to serve Nîmes and Odysséum for Montpellier.

Detailed studies will start next month to enable preliminary work to begin before the end of the year. Civil works should be completed by end of 2015 to allow the line to be equipped. The new line is expected to open in December 2017.