LGV Sud Europe Atlantique

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The LGV Sud Europe Atlantique (LGV SEA), also known as the LGV Sud-Ouest, is a proposed high-speed railway line running between Tours and Bordeaux, in France. If built, it would be used by TGV trains operated by SNCF, the French national railway company. The project is in its final stages of approval as of March, 2006.

TGV High Speed Train, at Poitiers, France


Project Map (English/French)

The purpose of constructing the LGV SEA is to bring high-speed rail service to southwestern France and connect the régions of Poitou-Charentes, Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées with the high-speed rail service of Northern Europe, which connects Paris to London, Brussels, Amsterdam and beyond. The trip between Paris and Bordeaux will take around two hours and ten minutes with a projected speed of 300 km/h. The inter-city links between Tours, Poitiers, Angoulême, and Bordeaux will also be improved and southwestern France will be better connected to diverse parts of the country and the rest of Europe.

The project is also a response to the heavy traffic on the existing rail line. The speed differences between the high-speed TGV trains, which reach speeds of up to 220 km/h on the existing tracks, and the slower freight trains and TER (regional) trains which share the same track, create highly congested tracks and prevent the most efficient usage of the rails.

Creating dedicated tracks for the TGV allows more freight and TER trains to use the existing tracks. New regional TER services will be created, especially to ease services that are currently crowded. The increase in freight trains on the existing track is also expected to ease truck traffic on the roads in the régions, as trains transport more and more merchandise, easing the impact on the environment as well.

The project is also expected to benefit the economy. The construction of Phase 1 alone is expected to create 10,000 construction jobs a year for five years. Jobs in the transport, commerce, and service sectors are expected to be created as well. Local businesses will likely see competitiveness increase as their markets expand, and tourism to the region will likely increase as well.


  • The new high-speed route will bypass Libourne, shortening the total distance traveled compared to the existing route.
  • South of Poitiers, a connection will allow trains to access the old tracks towards La Rochelle.
  • The total time gain between Tours and Bordeaux will be around 50 minutes. 300 km of track will be constructed and the cost of the project is estimated to be 4.7 billion Euros.
  • The new line will increase annual ridership by about five million travelers.


For financial reasons, the project was divided into phases:

Phase 1: Angoulême-Bordeaux
  • 2001-2003: Pre-project studies and procedures
  • 3 February 2005 - 16 March 2005: Final public hearings
Phase 2: Tours-Angoulême
  • 2004-2006: Pre-project studies and procedures
  • When constructed, Phase 2 must be completed on a rapid schedule due to the increase in traffic that will likely be caused by the completion and opening of Phase 1.
Phase 3: Bordeaux-Spanish frontier
  • Proposed, not currently decided.
  • 2004-2005: Preliminary studies
  • 2006: Public debate


  • 1 April 1992: Initial proposals for a high speed link between Saint-Pierre-des-Corps and Bordeaux. Early in its conception, the line was going to be called LGV Aquitaine.
  • 1994-1995: Public debate on the LGV Aquitaine project

See also

fr:LGV Sud Europe Atlantique