Much to everyone’s surprise (given the country’s budgetary constraints) the French government has approved five new sections of high-speed rail track.

The announcement was made by Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne yesterday at a total cost of Euros 13.4 billion.

According to details will have to be presented to parliament next month for final approval.  Construction will be phased over several years.

Some lines are totally new. Others will be extensions of existing TGV lines.

It means that business and leisure travellers alike will both have access to faster and simpler journeys.

The five new TGV routes are:

  • Bordeaux-Toulouse
  • Montpelier-Perpignan
  • Marseilles-Nice
  • Paris-Le Havre
  • CDG to various destinations in Northern France

On their own Bordeaux-Toulouse or Marseilles-Nice may not sound significant to readers outside France.

But they represent extensions of existing TGV lines and it means that the Paris-Toulouse journey time will be cut by over an hour while trains coming from elsewhere in France will get a speed boost to Nice (currently TGVs must run at reduced speed Marseilles-Nice over conventional track).

Following on from our Ouigo news earlier this week, details of routes being served from Paris Gare de Lyon later this year have been announced.

Railway journal IRJ reports these existing Ouigo destinations will be served from Paris Lyon:

  • Lyons, Marseilles, Aix-En-Provence, Avignon and Valence

While the destinations below are new to the Ouigo network at Paris:

  • Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Toulon, Saint Raphael and Les Arcs Draguignan

In addition there will be a new service operating from Lille Flandres (not to be confused with the Eurostar station) to Marseilles which will operate over the TGV bypass line (a sort of TGV version of London’s M25) and not call at downtown Paris.,