FRANCE: Transport Minister Frédéric Cuvillier announced on November 14 that RFF is to undertake studies for a new line between Paris and Rouen, with the aim of improving conventional services between the capital and the regions of Basse-Normandie and Haute-Normandie.

The project is to be undertaken in two phases. The first is to concentrate on the three 'priority' areas of Paris - Mantes-la-Jolie, Mantes - Evreux and around Rouen, where studies will consider a new rail crossing of the River Seine.

Broad route corridors will be selected at the end of 2016, with the aim of defining the alignment of the new line for consideration by a public inquiry prior to seeking legal powers. The steering committee overseeing the studies will include representatives of regional and local authorities, as well as the cities of Paris, Rouen, Le Havre, Caen and Cherbourg.

With 'chronic' delays highlighting the fact that the existing route had reached its saturation point, Cuvillier said that the new line 'will provide a real time saving for passengers'. He also stressed the improved reliability and other benefits that the project would provide for 'everyday' services in the regions concerned.