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France launches express rail project linking Paris to airport

24 january 2014, 10:32
0
French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier. Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org
French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier. Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org
After many years of hesitation, France's government has launched a 1.7-billion-euro ($2.3 billion) project to link Paris to its main international airport, Charles de Gaulle, with an express train that will go into operation in a decade's time, AFP reports.

French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said construction on the eight kilometres (five miles) of track needed to join up to the existing rail network will begin in 2017.

Once complete in 2023, the CDG Express, as the link will be known, will speed travellers non-stop along the 32 kilometres (20 miles) between the capital's central Gare de l'Est railway station to the airport in just 20 minutes.

That is twice as fast as the existing suburban train that stops along the way, and which is often overcrowded and stalled by technical problems.

A one-way express ticket is projected to cost 24 euros ($33), compared with less than 10 euros for the suburban train.

"That price is in the average for what you see around Europe," one of the minister's aides explained.

Ticket revenue will be used to reimburse the cost of building the link. The government is also looking at possibly tacking on a euro to airline tickets through Charles de Gaulle to also contribute to the cost.

The CEO of the Aeroports de Paris company that runs the capital's airports, Augustin de Romanet, said the project was now "irreversible" and would boost the attractivity "of one of the most important airports in Europe".

Some 62 million passengers passed through Charles de Gaulle airport in 2013, and an estimated eight million of them used the suburban train to get to or from Paris.

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