There have been talks about a new TGV line (or perhaps AGV) going from Marseilles to Nice going via the coast.
Three lines were suggested and I didn't hear anything more about it. Today I heard that all three had been rejected due to the cost of buying land on the coast (after all, Nice is only 30km from Monaco!) and a fourth thought of going through Digne and Grasse.
Has anyone heard any more about this?
I live in Toulon so all of this is very much local news! Discussions are still ongoing as to which of the three proposals will go ahead, each has its own advantages and its detractors, but I'm sure one will go ahead. The favoured route at the moment seems to be the most northerly one passing via Brignolles, but it would be very costly and involve tunnelling through some of the mountain ranges down here. Our local paper (Var Matin) regularly covers meetings held between SNCF and the local inhabitants so I'll keep you posted.
I travelled on the existing line between Nice & Marseilles two months ago on a TGV back to Gare De Lyon, and there didn't seem to be much space for a new line, but it was quite slow, but very picturesque. There's a new station in Monaco replacing the 1869 one, which has been built underground to free up the land previously used by the railway for development.
However if you look up above the towns between Nice & Menton you can see the motorway perched on a succession of bridges between tunnels bored through the rock. Money didn't seem to be a problem for those, but I suppose in these financially challenged times even the French have to think twice on rail projects.
Interesting article in the local paper today. Some official in Alpes Maritime announced that the new LGV line to Nice will leave the current LGV line (to Marseille) at Aix en Provence, by pass Marseille and Toulon, pass north of Brignolles and follow the route of the current motorway to Nice, opening in 2020.
Nothing official from the Government yet, but it must have some credence as it was a full 2 page spread.
We travelled the line between Marseilles to Nice 18 months ago - on a TGV we caught at Lille. It is a spectacular line - it hugs the coast all the way and you are sometimes just a few metres from the sea - but it is slow. Avignon to Nice seemed to take longer than Lille to Avignon as far as I remember, but it's no matter as it's all so pretty. There is certainly no advantage here to being in a TGV - save that the double-decker coaches allow a spectacular view of the beaches. There was much talk back then of a new TGV 'coastal bypass' - it's not like the French to dilly-dally about these things. As an aside it'd be nice if Eurostar could run all the way to the coast rather than stopping short at Avignon on their summer-only service from London.
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