Rapid train travel hits Bretagne

Rail journeys and connections in Brittany will soon be faster and safer following a major revamp of its rail lines and stations. Speeds faster than 160 km/h will be possible, with the journey time between Paris and Brittany’s key hubs of Quimper and Brest reduced to only 3 hours.

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In addition to better connections for the 370 000 or so residents in these hubs, the project is also expected to make the region more attractive for businesses and tourists and result in greater access to markets in new Member States of the European Union.

Bretagne helps boost national network

Improvements to the Rennes-Brest and Rennes-Quimper links will complement the new high-speed link Bretagne-Pays de la Loire and so contribute to a faster, better served rail network. It will bring Bretagne closer to the heart of Europe, for both goods and people, as connections with the Paris region represent the main flows to and from Brittany.

Comprehensive package of improvements

The area covered by the project incorporates seven sections: the Rennes-Brest line (four sections, approximately 221 km of track); and the Rennes-Quimper line (three sections, approximately 105 km). A total of 217 km of track will be revamped. The works include excavations, improving existing structures and building new tracks to cope with the higher speeds, replacing material, construction work at stations (underground passages, staff protection - safety rails installed), building platforms, reconstructing road bridges and rail bridges, installing overhead wires, removing 41 level crossings, and modifying safety equipment - installing alarm telephones and warning devices, the latter for maintenance staff working  in areas with reduced visibility.

Assessing the benefits

The 3 million or so inhabitants as well as freight transport operators across the entire Breton region stand to benefit from this project. To gauge an idea on the extent of this, the train travel time saved per year (in money terms) is estimated to represent €141 000 000. Furthermore, no major impact on natural or aquatic environments, air quality, landscape or noise pollution is expected from the works carried out for faster train speeds. Where there are concerns, impact assessment studies have been conducted. In terms of environmental gains, greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be reduced by 100 kt per year. Economically speaking, 1 600 jobs will be created during the implementation phase of the project works, providing an added boost to the region’s economy.


Draft date

06/02/2011