TRAINS re-started between Nantes and Bordeaux on July 12 to allow retraining of staff and to raise public awareness ahead of the official reintroduction of passenger and freight services on the 376km route on July 31. 

French National Railways (SNCF) suspended trains on the route 19 months ago to allow the rebuilding and singling of the 103km section between La Roche-sur-Yon and La Rochelle.  

The work cost €155.5m and was funded by central government on behalf of the Pays-de-la-Loire and Nouvelle Aquitaine regions (44.23%), the two regions themselves (18.52% and 8.55% respectively), the Charente Maritime and Vendée départments (6.66% and 3.86%), the La Rochelle conurbation (1.46%) and infrastructure manager SNCF Réseau (16.72%).  

Nantes - Bordeaux was one of the first two passenger services in France to be tendered by central government but the process collapsed last year after SNCF’s prospective competitors withdrew due to uncertainties linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, and continuing work on the line which will have a negative effect on journey times.  

The line will be used by four Nantes - Bordeaux services each day - three classified Intercités and subsidised by central government plus another classified TER and financed by the regions. Freight traffic is currently marginal.  

Passenger trains are operated by Alstom Coradia Liner bi-mode multiple units as the line is electrified at 25kV ac at the northern end and 1.5kV dc in the Bordeaux suburbs but not electrified in between. The line is now single-track, with crossing loops at Luçon and Marans stations.