Chirac hails success of France's newest, fastest TGV

15th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 15, 2007 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac on Thursday hailed France's newest and fastest TGV rail service as a "major industry success", saying it would generate economic growth and jobs.

PARIS, March 15, 2007 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac on Thursday hailed France's newest and fastest TGV rail service as a "major industry success", saying it would generate economic growth and jobs.

"This admirably demonstrates France's capabilities in research, development and innovation," Chirac said of the new TGV-Est rail service that is to be officially inaugurated later in the day.

The TGV-Est will see trains bolting from Paris to the eastern city of Strasbourg at a record speed of 320 kilometres (200 miles) per hour.  It opens to passengers on June 10.

The new line will cut travel time to the eastern city down to two hours and 20 minutes from the current four hours, and further open up rail service to Germany and Luxembourg.

"The TGV-Est is a symbol of our policy of town and country planning, a policy that I wished for France, with state-of-the-art transport and high passenger flow everywhere by the end of 2007," said Chirac.

The president described the 300-kilometre high-speed rail line as a "major industry success" during an Elysee luncheon for representatives of the TGV-Est's financial backers.

Work on the new rail service was launched five years ago at a cost of four billion euros (5.8 billion dollars) that is being shared among 22 financial partners at various levels of the French government as well as Luxembourg, the European Union and the French state-owned railway SNCF.

The TGV-Est will allow passengers to reach Luxembourg from Paris in about two hours, Frankfurt in less than four and Munich in six hours and fifteen minutes.

"By shortening the distances, attracting businesses and accelerating flows, it will constitute a true catalyst for economic activity, with some 16,000 jobs in the offing," said Chirac.

The president, who is stepping down in May after 12 years in office, lauded trains as not only faster and cheaper than planes but also greener -- noting that they spew "far fewer greenhouse gas emissions".

The inauguration on Thursday will be a lavish affair with organisers preparing what is billed as the longest fireworks display in the world.

A spectacular light show is scheduled for the evening with the entire 300 kilometers of the new rail line aglow with torches for three minutes.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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