Pierre Berger, Eiffage CEO, (left), and Hubert du Mesnil, RFF president and CEO.

Pierre Berger, Eiffage CEO, (left), and Hubert du Mesnil, RFF president and CEO.

The public-private partnership (PPP) for the future Brittany-Loire Valley high-speed rail line to connect the cities of Le Mans and Rennes has been signed by Eiffage and French rail infrastructure company Réseau Ferré de France (RFF).

Eiffage was selected as preferred bidder in January, beating off competition from Bouygues and Vinci.

The 182 km high-speed line will be an extension of the existing 180 km of high-speed line between Paris and Le Mans, created in 1989.

The new line will represent an investment of more than € 3,3 billion, and is said to be the first public-private partnership contract ever signed for the construction of a high-speed line.

Taking five years to complete, the line is said to offer greater accessibility to the west of France. Journey time from Paris to Rennes will be less than 90 minutes.

The Brittany-Loire Valley high-speed line is part of an ambitious project which expects to see more than 2000 km of new lines being constructed in France before 2020. RFF said the Brittany-Loire Valley high-speed line would become one of the new major railway junctions, at a European level as well as for the local territories.

Eiffage Rail Express (ERE) will finance, design, build and maintain the infrastructure for 25 years. In exchange, ERE will receive contribution from local authorities and RFF during the construction work. During the operating phase, it will also receive an allowance from the state to compensate the investment made, and from RFF to cover the costs related to line maintenance and renewal.

RFF said it expected important direct and indirect spin-offs, economic and social, from the construction work. ERE will contract out more than 30% of the work to local companies, and 10000 jobs will be created during the construction work

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