Public consultation will be launched soon on plans for the first phase of the so-called Grand Southwestern Railway Project (GPSO), encompassing the lines from Bordeaux to Toulouse and Dax, with the aim of securing a Declaration of Public Utility for the project in the first half of next year.

The €5.9bn Bordeaux – Toulouse high-speed line is now expected to open in 2024 and will build on the journey time reductions that will be achieved with the opening of the initial phase of TGV SEA between Tours and Bordeaux in 2017, reducing the Paris – Toulouse trip to 3h 10min. The line will have two intermediate stations which will be located near Agen and Montauban.

The Bordeaux – Dax line is due to be completed by 2027 and is expected to cost €3.2bn. The line will reduce the Paris – Bayonne journey time to 3h 25min.

A second phase will extend the high-speed line beyond Dax to Hendaye on the Spanish border by 2032. The total length of both phases will be around 420km.

The government says that while it is following the recommendations of the Mobility 21 Commission by focussing investment on infrastructure that meets the everyday needs of French people, it has not turned its back on high-speed, particularly where it has the potential to improve links between regions. It adds that such major projects are still considered viable provided a realistic and sustainable approach is taken to financing.