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Casablanca-Tangier TGV project gaining momentum
  This high-speed train will reduce the time distance between Tangier and Casablanca to 2 hours and 10 minutes
The Casablanca-Tangier high-speed train (TGV) project is gaining momentum as France agreed to grant Morocco a loan to finance the rolling stock and railway equipment.

Signed by the Moroccan Minister of Economy and Finance, Salaheddine Mezouar, and the French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Anne-Marie Idrac, the loan stands at MAD 790 million.

The Protocol providing for the construction of the Casablanca-Tangier TGV line was signed in Marrakech in October 2007. The signing ceremony was chaired by HM King Mohammed VI and visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Led by the French group Alstom, the TGV project is very important, as it will link two of Morocco's most active economic hubs, Casablanca, the economic capital, and Tangier, which harbours the country's free zone and the giant Tangier Med port project.

This high-speed train (from 200 to 320 km/hour) will reduce the time distance between Tangier and Casablanca to 2 hours and 10 minutes, instead of 5 hours and 45 minutes currently.

As a first phase of the project, the Casablanca-Tangier line is expected to be operational by the year 2013. The second line, to start in 2015, will link Casablanca with Marrakech, followed by a third line linking this latter with Agadir by the year 2020.

The TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) is France's high-speed rail service developed by Alstom and the French national rail operator, SNCF, and operated primarily by this latter. The first line, between Paris and Lyon, was inaugurated in 1981.

The idea of the TGV was first proposed in the 1960s, after Japan had begun the construction of its Shinkansen in 1959.
  By CMC
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