Video, Pictures as Morocco launches Africa into exquisite club of fast electric train transportation
-After seven years hard work, Africa’s fastest train begins operation in Morocco
Rabat, November 17, 2018 (AltAfrica)-Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and French President Emmanuel Macron have inaugurated what has been described as Africa‘s fastest train, with a trip from the northwestern city of Tangier to the capital, Rabat.
The railway, known as the LGV, will significantly reduce the travel time between the industrial and commercial hubs of Casablanca and Tangier to two hours and 10 minutes, instead of four hours and 45 minutes, according to officials.
Morocco bought 12 double-decker, high-speed trains from French group Alstom, to be operated by the state-owned railway ONCF, which expects six million passengers to use the new service annually.
The king and the French president on Thursday boarded the train at Tangier after they were handed tickets by the Director General of Morocco’s National Railway Office, Mohamed Rabie Khlie, according to state news agency MAP.
Last year, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had called the railway “the fastest train on the African continent” during a visit to Morocco to sign a loan deal between the ONCF and the French Development Agency.
Authorities have said the project is part of a larger rail plan aimed at upgrading Morocco’s transportation system and boosting the economy.
Rabat – Photos from inside Africa’s first high speed train have been gone viral on social media.
The sophisticated train has classy cars adorned with turquoise seats.
King Mohammed VI and French President Emmanuel Macron inaugurated Morocco’s first LGV high-speed train this afternoon in Tangier. The LGV departed from Tangier to Rabat with King Mohammed VI and Macron taking the first ride.
The 200-kilometer-long high speed train will link Tangier and Casablanca in two hours and 10 minutes instead of the normal five-hour train ride.
The trip from Tangier to Kenitra will take 47 minutes while the trip from Tangier to Rabat will take 90 minutes. ONCF will announce the LGV’s ticket prices on Friday, November 16.
During testing, the train reached a record speed of 357 kilometers per hour in May. The LGV’s total budget costs €2 billion.
The project will increase its passenger capacity from 3 million per year to more than 60 million starting in the third year.
However, the new line has not been without its controversies.
The high cost has drawn criticism, with some saying the project was not a priority and the money would have been better spent on health and education.
Critics also say it has flagged disparities in spending between the north and the south of the country – vast southern regions and major cities such as Agadir are without a basic rail service.
A derailment in October near Kenitra, 15km north of Rabat, which killed seven people and injured 125 others, sparked further criticism and calls for increased funding to improve safety and infrastructure as well as the punctuality of basic railway services.
Morocco world news/Aljazeera