Bretagne-Pays de la Loire high speed rail link
In 2011, Eiffage was selected by Réseau Ferré de France (RFF), the French rail company, to finance, design, build and maintain the Bretagne-Pays de la Loire high speed rail link (connecting Le Mans and Rennes) – currently one of Europe’s largest rail projects.
The BPL high speed rail link is a public-private partnership agreement (PPP) lasting 25 years, which was signed on 28 July 2011 between RFF and Eiffage Rail Express (ERE), a subsidiary of Eiffage set up specifically for the project.
This project, which is a continuation of the existing high speed rail link between Paris and Connerré (20 km to the east of Le Mans), consists mainly in the construction of a new 182 km line and aims to greatly improve access to Western France, by putting Rennes at less than 90 minutes from Paris.
© Gaël Arnaud.
The project is progressing at a swift pace. 22 million cubic metres of earthworks have already been excavated out of a total 26 million. In addition, all of the standard civil engineering works – road and rail bridges – have been built.
The 23rd and final launching of a rail bridge deck some 198 metres long, took place during the night of Tuesday 17 to Wednesday 18 June 2014, enabling the new line to pass over the A81 motorway, at Bonchamp-lès-Laval, to the east of Laval (Mayenne).
A total of 14 major engineering works have been built between Le Mans (Sarthe) and Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine) to enable the BPL to cross over valleys, existing railway lines, waterways and motorways. Overall, by mid-June 2014, 82 engineering structures out of a total 240, had been completed.
Delivery of the first rail tracks marks a new phase in the works, the railway equipment phase: track laying will begin in early 2015, alongside catenary works and the first signalling buildings.
To prepare this new phase, the two railway works plants in Auvers-le-Hamon and Saint-Berthevin (Mayenne) will be operational by autumn 2014 and materials - ballast and sleepers -, previously transported by road, will arrive by train. 355,000 tons of ballast have already been delivered and stored and 301,000 out of a total 680,000 sleepers have already been manufactured.