French railways operator SNCF said there will be disruption to trains arriving at and departing from Marseille over the coming days after a high-speed train from Paris derailed, without causing injuries, on its low-speed approach to the Mediterranean port city for reasons that remain unexplained.
The high-speed train, or TGV, is one of France’s major engineering success stories of the past three decades, revolutionizing transport in a country with largest surface area in Western Europe. Two years ago, a vast, ambitious plan was announced to extend the high-speed train network with 14 new lines in a north-south, east-west grid inter-linking most major French cities and regions. But now France’s new socialist government, battling a huge public deficit, has decided to pull the plug on a project it describes as “a headline-grabbing announcement” that was one of “a multitude of projects conceived without the beginning of the least financing”.
High-speed trains, Spanish casinos, a new stadium in Lyon, a huge underground train station in Stuttgart, property development schemes to repay Greek debt: European environmentalists opposed to such ‘unnecessary top-down large projects’ are mobilising against the environmental impact of the financial crisis. Jade Lindgaard reports.