TGV in North Africa

France has signed an agreement with the Moroccan government to supply and build a TGV line between the cities of Tangiers and Marrakech (Morocco). I assume that people want to get from these cities at a fast enough speed to warrant such a project. My only observation would be that using this route would probably be prohibitively expensive for a large number of Moroccans, so the question who will actually be using this system. However, this does mean the Morocco should be one of the first African nations to get a real high-speed system, which can only be a good thing.

The only other system I am aware of is the Gautrain in South Africa, a project that has been on/off for years since it is only seen a benefiting a wealthy few who would want to travel between Jo’burg and Pretoria (and maybe go to Jo’burg airport if they get round to it), and this at the expense of helping those people who need basic amenities and not rapid rail lines. This project could see completion prior to the World Cup in 2010, but then if it doesn’t go to the airport also then its usefulness could be brought into even more question. Running at an expected 180km/h it would certainly be slower than the project in Morocco, and given the news story (linked) above its a question of which of the two will be running first. The potentially good thing is that the South African should provide around 20,000 jobs, and if it does prove to be a success then maybe the project will be extended to link with other cities within the country.

Regardless of delays its good to see more developments of high-speed rail going ahead.