The presentation was also attended by Mr Patrick Jeantet, CEO of infrastrucutre manager SNCF Network, and Mr Dirk Beckers, director of the European Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA).

The grant from the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) will cover 40% of the €292m cost the ETCS Level 2 Baseline 3 trackside deployment on the 483km Paris - Lyon high-speed line, the northern section of the Lyon bypass, and 13 connections to the conventional network. It also covers the renewal of 26 interlockings, installation of Radio Block Centres (RBCs) and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) required for the operation of ERTMS.

The Paris - Lyon high-speed line is France’s busiest, hosting a third of domestic TGV traffic and carrying 44 million passengers in 2017. The most heavily-utilised section of the line is used by an average of 240 trains a day and the line is now operating at capacity in the peak.

The ERTMS project will enable SNCF Network to increase capacity from 13 to 14 train paths per hour by 2025 and 16 train paths per hour by 2030.

The European Commission has already provided two grants in 2013 and 2016 to fund studies into the deployment of ERTMS on the route.

The ERTMS project is a key part of a €600m investment in the line, which also includes improvements to power supplies (€60.2m), adapting infrastructure for more frequent services (€53.3m) and an environmental improvement programme (€23.4m).