The LGV Est européenne (sometimes referred to as TGV Est, or occasionally as TGV East in English) is an extension to the French high-speed TGV network, connecting Paris and Strasbourg. It will provide fast service between Paris and the principal cities of eastern France and Luxembourg, and several cities in Germany and Switzerland. It will also enable fast connections between eastern France and French regions already served by LGV, to the southeast, the west and southwest, and to the north, with extensions towards Belgium.
The French regions passed through are Alsace, Lorraine, Champagne-Ardenne and the Île-de-France. The first 300 km section of this new 406-km line, linking Vaires-sur-Marne near Paris to Baudrecourt in the Moselle, is due to enter service on 10 June 2007. Constructed for speeds up to 350 km/h, for commercial service it will initially operate at a maximum speed of 320 km/h.
The construction of the new line has been split into two phases:
- from Vaires-sur-Marne (Seine-et-Marne) near Paris to Baudrecourt (Moselle), where it joins the conventional Metz-Saarbrücken and Metz-Strasbourg lines, due to open June 2007;
- from Baudrecourt to Vendenheim (Bas-Rhin) near Strasbourg, expected around 2010. Until then, TGV will run between these two cities via the existing Metz-Strasbourg line at the 160 km/h normal speed for the line.
Journey times will decrease as follows:
- Paris-Strasbourg: from 4 hours to 2h 20 (first phase) to 1h 50 (second phase)
- Paris-Reims: from 1h 25 to 0h 45
- Paris-Sedan: from 2h 50 to 1h 45
- Paris-Charleville-Mézières: from 2h 30 to 1h30
- Paris-Nancy and Metz: from 2h 40 to 1h 30
- Paris-Luxembourg: from 3h 55 to 2h 15
- Paris-Basel: from 5 hours to 3h 30
- Paris-Zurich: from 6 hours to 4h 30
Besides the construction of the LGV the project includes:
- construction of three TGV stations:
- upgrades and improvements to terminal lines and facilities, especially between the Gare de l'Est station in Paris and Vaires-sur-Marne and on the Strasbourg–Kehl main line.
- modernisation of city centre stations
- electrification of lines through the Vosges valleys to permit seamless TGV running
Major earthworks for the first phase between Vaires and Baudrecourt started in spring 2002. The contractors will need three years to complete the earthworks and some 327 pieces of structural work as well as re-establishing communications for people and wildlife. Tracklaying and building the new stations started in 2004.
As the first infrastructure project of its kind to be declared a public utility by the Ministry of the Environment, the LGV Est is also the first railway to be financed largely by the French regions and the European Union (EU). The main contractor for the project is RFF (Réseau ferré de France), the state-owned company responsible for managing the French rail infrastructure.
Civil engineering works were distributed in eight contracts which were awarded after bidding by five companies: SNCF, ISL, Tractebel, Scétauroute and Setec. This is the first time there has been competition for the construction of an LGV since reform of the rail system in 1997 and the involvement of RFF. SNCF Engineering, in partnership with EEG Simecsol succeeded in obtaining four of the contracts (including one for the second phase), this being 50% of the civil engineering project. Moreover it will direct the entire superstructure works project (track, signals and eletrification) under the responsibility of Réseau Ferré de France.
The total cost is about €4 billion, apportioned as follows:
- 61% public funds
- French government
- 17 local authorities
- European Union
- 17% RFF
- 22% SNCF (including €800 million for TGV rolling stock)
The LGV Est has been a subject of public debate for several reasons:
- The 2006 commencement of first phase service has been pushed back to June 2007, this having now been confirmed by RFF. The date for the beginning of second phase construction is still uncertain, although preliminary works (detailed studies, plot inquiries, acquisition procedures and regrouping of lands) are already quite advanced.
- This will be the first LGV construction in which local communities have had to participate financially together with the state government and European Union. The contribution was fixed following a capital structure group discussion of the communities, depending on the time decrease for users in relation to the Île de France. Alsace has therefore had to pay almost €300 million. It is possible that this financial model will continue for the second phase.
- It is possible that passengers from Germany to Paris may travel via Mannheim station, situated on the ICE line connecting Munich, Stuttgart and Frankfurt, and not via Strasbourg. The journey from Munich to Paris via Mannheim and Baudrecourt will take 5h 30, as opposed to 8h 20 at present, once currently planned improvements have been made to the German rail network.
- The LGV Est is an "interoperable" high-speed line, permitting the inter-running of different system European high speed trains.
- 22 May 1992: French-German la Rochelle summit; commitment by France and Germany to create a high-speed rail line linking the two countries; comprising a northern branch via Saarbrücken-Mannheim and a southern branch via Strasbourg-Karlsruhe
- 14 May 1996: declaration of public utility
- 2001: refurbishment of a number of stations in Germany (for example Kaiserslautern) and launch of infrastructure work in Germany (line upgrading for 200 km/hour on sections of the conventional line between Saarbrücken and Mannheim)
- 28 January 2002: official beginning of works for first phase between Vaires and Baudrecourt
- 18 December 2003: government of Jean-Pierre Raffarin announces approximately 50 improvement projects, of which eight are for the LGV, including second phase works due to begin about 2010; additionally, connection of LGV Est with ICE to occur between 2007 and 2010
- 19 October 2004: laying of the first LGV Est rail at Saint-Hilaire-au-Temple (Marne) by the transport minister, Gilles de Robien; earthworks are 80% complete and of the 338 structural projects, 290 (of which 14 are viaducts) are complete
- June 2006: the catenary between Marne and Meause is powered
- 31 October 2006: the catenary for the entire length of the line is powered to enable testing
- 13 November 2006: beginning of technical testing of the central 210 km of the line using specialized trains to check correct track geometry, etc., at speeds up to 320 km/h
- 25 January 2007: An initial budget of €94 million is allocated to the second phase of the line between Baudrecourt and Strasbourg
- 14 February 2007: A new world record for train speed is set by a TGV during tests on the LGV Est. 
- Construction progress (in French)
- Summary presentation (in English)
- SNCF plans for initial service (in French)
- Travel times (in French)
- Interior design proposal, Christian Lacroix's having been adopted
- Special search engine
|In Service – France||LGV Sud-Est - LGV Atlantique - LGV Rhône-Alpes - LGV Nord - LGV Interconnexion Est - LGV Méditerranée|
|Under Construction||LGV Est - LGV Perpignan-Figueras - LGV Rhin-Rhône|
|Planned||LGV Bretagne-Pays de la Loire - LGV Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur - LGV Poitiers-Limoges - LGV Sud Europe Atlantique - LGV Bordeaux-Toulouse - LGV Barreau Picard - LGV Normandie - Lyon Turin Ferroviaire|