Morocco prepares to test ‘fastest train in Africa’

On Monday, Morocco’s rail office reported that it is preparing to test the Arab world’s first high-speed railway this week, with trains reaching 320kn/h.

One of the trains reached 275km/h on Monday along a stretch of track between the Northern cities or Tangier and Kenitra, said the ONCF.

“This is the fastest train on the African continent,” said the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who was in the country to sign a loan deal between the ONCF and the French Development Agency.

He stated that the railway was emblematic of the Franco-Moroccan bilateral relationship.

The 350km link between Tangiers and Casablanca via Rabat will cut travelling times between the North African country’s economic hub by close to two thirds, to just over two hours.

The country’s TGV, which gets its name from the French abbreviation for high speed trains, is set to enter service in the summer of 2018.

50% of the complete project is financed by France with loans of around $2.4 billion. It is, however, set to go around 15% over budget. That is according to figures released on Monday. The head of ONCF Rabii Lakhii said the project had cost less compared to a European standard.

Lakhii said tickets will cost about 30% more than those for the current rail link, expecting to attract six million travellers within the first three years,

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