morocco railway has fastest journey time in arab world
Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
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Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
Arab Today, arab today

Morocco railway has fastest journey time in Arab world

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Arab Today, arab today Morocco railway has fastest journey time in Arab world

A carriage of a high speed train TGV produced by Alstom
Tangiers - Arab Today

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Morocco on Thursday to take part in the inauguration of a high-speed railway line that boasts the fastest journey times in Arab world.

The French leader, who was invited by King Mohammed VI, will attend a grand ceremony at Tangiers' newly renovated train station, with heavy security measures put in place.

The service between Tangiers and Casablanca, via the capital, will slash journey times between the North African country's economic hubs to just over two hours from nearly five.

Trains will zoom along the newly laid tracks at up to 320 kilometers per hour (200 miles per hour).

Morocco has heralded the project as a key step in modernising the country after weathering the Arab Spring uprisings born largely out of discontent over inequality and poor public services.

It wants to position itself as an African hub for foreign investors.

The French presidency hailed the railway line as a "flagship project of the bilateral relationship between France and Morocco."

Macron's one-day working visit "reflects the depth of bilateral relations based on a solid and strong partnership" between the two countries, said the official MAP news agency.

France hopes the high-speed rail project will demonstrate its industrial knowhow so that its companies can secure other contracts in Africa.
"We want to make this project a showcase of the modernisation of the country: It is a challenge that we can take up," the Les Ecos newspaper wrote in an editorial Thursday.

Macron is being accompanied by the heads of French companies involved in the project, including Alstom, which supplied France's famous TGV trains, the Ansaldo-Ineo group, and the Colas Rail-Egis Rail consortium.

The president is visiting Morocco four days after King Mohammed took part in World War I centenary commemorations in France.

Hundreds of workers laboured until the last minute to complete the project, which was launched in September 2011 by then French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

The Moroccan government put the cost of the project at 23 billion dirhams ($2.4 billion), nearly 15 percent more than initial estimates but well below average European prices.

Loans from France helped to cover half of that amount.

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