FRENCH infrastructure authority RFF is to electrify the 114 km from Nantes to La-Roche-sur-Yon and the resort of Les-Sables-d’Olonne by 2007. An agreement for the Fr537m project was signed with the government, the region of Pays de la Loire and the departments of Vendée and Loire-Atlantique on July 10.

At present through TGVs from Paris are diesel-hauled beyond Nantes, but their patronage is below 50% of that forecast when they were introduced. Design work will take 21/2 years, with construction getting under way in early 2004. RFF President Claude Martinand says the project will also form the first stage in wiring the Nantes - Bordeaux corridor.