INTRO: With civil works now approaching completion, RFF and SNCF expect to open the 250 km TGV Méditerranée route on June 1 2001 and cut the Paris - Marseille journey time down to 3h. SNCF Project Director Gilles Cartier described the challenges of building the high-speed line to Robert Preston

Project DirectoR Gilles Cartier expects TGV Méditerranée to open to traffic on June 1 2001, to budget and respecting a revised schedule agreed with Réseau Ferré de France. His organisation is managing construction of the 250 km high-speed line on behalf of RFF, which now owns the national railway infrastructure and is responsible for administering state investment in new lines.

Under the original project timetable, it was hoped to open the first 86 km in January 2000, from the TGV Rh