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Africa’s First High Speed Rail Line Currently Under Construction in Morocco

The first high-speed rail line in Africa is under construction in Morocco.  It is undergoing its first phase of tests ahead of a planned launch in 2018. Progress of works is currently reported to be  85% done according to local media outlets. Operated by the Moroccan National Railways facility (ONCF), the Moroccan TGV will be launched in June 2018 linking at a first phase the cities of Tangier and Kenitra on a distance of 183 km high-speed line.

Tanger – Casablanca services, using a 320 km route including a 183 km high speed line between Tanger and Kénitra which is being built for operation at up to 320 km/h. From Kénitra to Casablanca the services will use a conventional line upgraded for speeds up to 220 km/h.


The new line will cut the journey time between Casablanca and Tangier from nearly five hours and 45 minutes to just more than two hours. It will reduce the traffic and thus reduce pressure on the existing lines along the route, which is predicted to witness high growth in container traffic volumes. It is expected to carry up to ten million passengers a year. The project is estimated to cost approximately $4bn. 




Mohamed Rabie Khlie, ONCF director general, briefed the press recently on the progress of works on this large-scale project with significant economic benefits that will link Tangier to Casablanca.

“To achieve the target of 6 million passengers a year, there will be a departure every hour from Casablanca and Tangier, with the aim to achieve an average occupancy rate of 70%,” he said




Opening of the new line was planned for December 2015 when construction was launched by King Mohammed VI and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in September 2011, but delays to the infrastructure works mean this has now been put back to 2018. It will be operated by the Moroccan railway operator ONCF. Building Africa’s first high speed railway has meant overcoming lots of engineering challenges. More than 250 civil engineering structures feature along the route, including 10 viaducts, one of which  at 3.5km  is believed to be Africa’s longest.




ONCF expects the new line to reduce Tanger – Casablanca journey times from 4 h 45 min to 2 h 10 min. ONCF plans to deploy 1500 km of high speed lines in the next three decades. The first step of this project is under way between Tangier and Kenitra, to be completed in 2017. Until this date a first upgrade (220 km/h) is programmed for the existing Kenitra–Casablanca line. After 2020 the Kenitra–Casablanca (320 km/h) line will be reformed and the Casablanca–Marrakech line will be upgraded at the same time to allow Tangier–Casablanca in 1h30 and Tangier–Marrakech in 2h45.  The entire 1,500km line is slated for completion in 2035 and is part of a wider North-African inter-governmental strategy to connect this line to a high-speed network ending in the Libyan city of Tripoli via Algiers, in Algeria and Tunis in Tunisia.

The rolling stock contract worth almost €400m was signed by ONCF and Alstom in December 2010. The trainsets are to be maintained by Société Marocaine de Maintenance des Rames à Grande Vitesse, a 60:40 joint venture of ONCF and SNCF under a separate 15-year deal worth €175m.




Morocco’s plans to help the country to grow economically, through its transportation infrastructure. Tangier with its TangerMed port, is one of the largest hubs for container ships in the Mediterranean. Rabat has a new airport. Free flowing toll roads link Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakesh. Rabat  has a tram network. So a high speed rail network is, arguably, the next logical step.




Africa Team



Image Credit; New Civil Engineer/ Skyscraper City

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Great job Morocco
Reply    Favorite    Flag as Abusive    Posted at: 1/10/2017 3:54:29 PM
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The trains are beautiful too
Reply    Favorite    Flag as Abusive    Posted at: 1/10/2017 5:19:37 PM
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