Africa's first high speed rail line opens in Morocco

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Morocco's new high speed service uses equipment based on French TGV trains but modified for the African climate.

TANGIERS, Morocco — Africa’s first high speed rail line has opened.

The 112.5-mile line between Tangiers and Kenitra was opened today (Nov. 15) by Moroccan King Mohammed VI and French President Emmanuel Macron.

High speed trains will now operate between Tangiers and Casablanca, initially using the new 200-mph high speed line and then, south of Kenitra, on an existing but upgraded 100-mph line to Casablanca, 125 miles further south. The new line, which began construction in 2011, cuts travel time between Tangiers and Casablanca by more than half, from 4 hours, 45 minutes to 2 hours, 10 minutes.

Moroccan state rail operator ONCF has bought 12 bilevel Avelia Euroduplex trains from French Rail manufacturer Alstom. These eight-car, 533-seat, 200-mph trains are based upon the French TGV design but are adapted for use in the climatic conditions of North Africa. Each train has two first-class cars and a dining car in addition to five second-class coaches.

The high speed line may be extended from Kenitra to Casablanca in the future.

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