FRENCH National Railways is set to introduce tilting TGV services in 2005 on the Limousin route from Paris to Toulouse via Orléans and Limoges, following the signing of a financing agreement with the government and local regions. The deal was announced in Limoges on May 30 by Minister of Public Functions & State Reform Michel Sapin.

RFF sees upgrading of the existing route as more cost-effective than a new line (RG 6.00 p373), but SNCF had been reluctant to invest in the development of a tilting train. Current thinking suggests similar units could be deployed on the Rennes - Brest corridor, helping to spread the development costs.

Total cost of upgrading the Limousin route is put at Fr1·5bn. One-third will come from the government, one-third from the regions of Centre, Limousin and Midi-Pyrénées, Fr400m from SNCF and Fr100m from RFF. The 400 km Paris - Limoges journey would be cut from 3h to under 2h 30min. n