FRANCE: Réseau Ferré de France President Hubert du Mesnil announced on June 22 that three groups had been shortlisted to bid for construction of LGV Bretagne - Pays de la Loire, following scrutiny of the prequalification offers.

The three candidates retained for the second round of the PPP competition are:

  • a consortium led by Bouygues TP;
  • Effiage;
  • a consortium led by Vinci Concessions.

RFF has already sent the three groups technical documentation for the project, pending completion of the full consultation documents. The invitation to tender for the so-called 'partnership contract' to build LGV Bretagne - Pays de la Loire was published in December 2008, and bids were submitted in May.

Currently priced at €3·4bn, the project covers the construction of 214 route-km from the current end of the LGV Atlantique western branch at Connerré, east of Le Mans, to Rennes, with a spur to Sablé-sur-Sarthe carrying trains towards Nantes. The line is expected to cut journey times between Paris and western France, bringing the fastest timing for Paris - Rennes down by 37 min to 1 h 26 min and cutting Paris - Nantes from 2 h to 1 h 52 min.

Having received its Declaration of Public Utility in October 2007, LGV Bretagne - Pays de la Loire is one of four grands projets identified by President Sarkozy for funding as part of the government's national economic stimulus package. It also forms part of the rail expansion strategy in the Grenelle Environnement programme. A financing agreement between the French government, RFF and the regions of Bretagne and Pays de la Loire was signed on July 29 2008.