An east-west high-speed line via Auvergne and Limousin: an association requests a feasibility study

Since the abandonment of the Paris-Orléans-Clermont-Lyon high-speed line, the evocation of major railway ambitions is no longer in tune with the times in Auvergne and Limousin. Against the current, the Altro association is trying to mobilize citizens and local elected officials (Montluçon community is for example a member of the association) around its Via Atlantica project, carried out since 1997, and asks the State to carry out a feasibility study.

Limoges Métropole supports the Altro project to link the Atlantic seaboard to Central Europe via Haute-Vienne

A project worth 21 billion euros

This rail initiative aims to linking the Atlantic seaboard to the Alps and Central Europe, passing through Auvergne and Limousin, notably Guéret, Montluçon and Vichy. This 21 billion euro project would require the creation of a new mixed line – both for passengers and goods – between Angers and Poitiers as well as between the Bordeaux-Poitiers bar and Lyon. The existing infrastructures, in particular in the Allier and the Creuse, would not allow a high enough speed for this project which plans for example to connect Nantes to Lyon in 2 h 40.

Document of Another.

An outlet for Lyon-Turin

For Michel Caniaux, Vice President of Altro, Via Atlantica would offer “Lyon-Turin its natural extension towards the Atlantic coast”. This line, planned for 2030, now comes up against the rail desert of the Massif Central, and freight or passenger trains will have to be sent south or north.

Need for political impetus

In this year of elections, the association believes that such a regional development project, which would break with hexagonal railway centralism and respond to environmental issues, must be supported by a President of the Republic. “21 billion euros is only half of the Grand Paris Express”, remarks Michel Caniaux, former executive of the SNCF and author of the book Via Atlantica railway, stitching up France and uniting Europeans.

At the expense of the existing network?

Before thinking about such a project, shouldn’t we maintain and save the current network? ” One does not prevent the other. You also have to think about the short and medium term, and the Altro association, for example, supports Railcoop’s Bordeaux-Lyon project. If you want the rail to be the backbone of mobility, you can do both “, answers Michel Caniaux, who denounces the lack of investment in rail in France as well as “the hypocrisy of the great declarations never followed by effects”.

Guillaume Bellavoine

Green light for Railcoop, authorized to operate the line between Strasbourg and Clermont-Ferrand