THE BOOK OF ACTORS OF TGV PROVENCE CÔTE D'AZUR ASSOCIATION,
LYING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE PUBLIC DISCUSSION
WHICH WILL BE HELD DURING THE FIRST HALF OF 2005

The association was created at the beginning of the year 2003 to revive a project which had been almost abandoned for 10 years. Its interventions near the authorities were determining. From its constitution, its objective to gather actors who, in the past, had not spoken with one voice, which had been one of the reasons that made itself late. It thanks the State for having prescribed to RFF to initiate the first procedures and to accelerate the studies. This book of actors endeavours to make a synthesis of the concerns of its members, elected officials and representatives professional. It is based on the last year work which led to the edition of a small volume in French, Italian and Spanish languages, to the drafting of a White Paper that will be published from the very start of the public discussion, and to the constitution of a file interreg with Catalonia and Ligurie, intended to prepare the line inscription in 2007 in the European priorities.

From debates we had inside our authorities and contacts we took in the field, we draw the following conclusions. The future TGV Provence Côte d'Azur will have to constitute a response to the following concerns :

1/ The connection with Paris. The most penalized city is obviously Nice, and it is quite normal that the revival movement of the file came from this part of the regional territory. For the trains carrying out the Paris-Nice way without stop, the margin of variation of the course durations, according to the various assumptions of layouts, should not exceed ten minutes.

2/ The studies must take into account the geographical specificity of this part of our own territory : Whereas the already built TGV cross, most of the time, little populated zones, with a little animated relief, the TGV Provence Côte d'Azur will move, in all its length, in very dense territories, ecologically significant zones and important reliefs. Two of these cities, Marseilles and Nice, are metropolises with European dimension, which is not the case in any other area ; a third, Toulon, plays a major part on the Mediterranean frontage of the European Union. Those who will enjoy this new connection to go in the area or to move outside, will be numerous to borrow the stations, whatever their position on the route. It is not the case for any other existing line TGV. The stops site and the trains clocking constitute a major problem. The future users, whatever their destination or starting place, will wish to profit very strongly decreased courses time. Add to that the demographic dynamism, the highest of all France, which will strongly increase the request for transport in the future in this area.

3/ The area is the first French tourist destination. One comes there from Paris, from most French areas, but also from Asia and America by plane, from all East and Northern Europe by our TGV ways, and, in the future, by the large European railway crossroads that Milan will be. Very high speed in Provence Côte d'Azur will be gradually as fundamental for the travellers coming from Italy, or forwarding by this country, as for those which borrow our national network. Which that means that our large metropolises : Marseilles, Toulon, Nice as well as the other important cities of the littoral of Provence and the Riviera, must be able to be accessible at very high speed as much for the travellers coming from North and the East forwarding by Italy, that for those which are taken into account in the specifically French studies. The course duration between Milan and Marseilles, between Milan and Toulon, between Milan and Nice, must be as short as possible for the competitiveness of our coast compared to other destinations. That is true for tourism but also for the dynamism of the university towns and congress of the area.

4/ The area has two international airports, Marseilles and Nice, and an airport which can develop flights charters, Toulon Hyères. The idea to build a third airport close to Cannet des Maures, as certain documents of Datar suggest it, is not realistic. The new connection must contribute to the good routing of passengers, coming from the whole world, towards their various places of stay in our area. Express trains with the judiciously selected schedules could be of major interest for the organizers of voyages. Countries as different as Norway or China were resolutely directed in this direction. In the same way, the very strong density of population on all the route, the existence of motorways whose geography, appreciably the very one, allows a fast relation between the residence and the station, can ensure the profitability of fast. The stops site and the connection points between the new line and the lines existing today are fundamental questions. The taking into account of the favourable elements to a diversified use of the line will play an important part in the balance of exploitation.

5/ Today the absence of a fast rail link in our area limits the exchanges, along the Mediterranean, between the Iberian peninsula on the one hand, France, Italy, old Yugoslavia, Greece... on the other hand. The air links are today, on these routes, rare and very expensive. The Lyon-Turin project has initially the role to transport freight. The TGV Provence Côte d'Azur project will play a similar part for the travellers, it will consolidate the unit of the South of Europe and will develop exchanges of all natures. The strategic place in the South of Europe the territory of Provence and the Riviera will have, in particular these cities : Marseilles, Toulon, Nice, but also Draguignan, Fréjus, Saint-Raphaël, Cannes, Grasse, as well as the principality of Monaco, must constitute a powerful lever of economic development, intellectual, cultural and social progress. Growing points, like Château Gombert and Sophia Antipolis, will be able, better than today, to tie alliances with entities located in Catalonia or in North of Italy. The file interreg, initiated by Association TGV Provence Côte d'Azur, is testimony ; it received immediately, and without reserve, the support of the areas of Ligurie and Catalonia which included/understood how much this project offered for them new openings. It is advisable to note the efforts carried out, as well on the Spanish side as of that of Italy, to be located within a framework at European dimension : construction of ways in Spain with the standards in force in the other European countries prolonged by the Perpignan-Figuéras connection, complete restoration of the rail network of Italy of North in synergy with the alpine openings of Switzerland and Austria. It is enough to consult a map to measure how much the 180 kilometers ways which France will have to build, will be the key to success of this gigantic work and how much their not-construction would penalize our area and would weigh on the image of the South of France abroad.

 
 

These various considerations had not been the subject of an examination 15 years ago, when it was a question of continuing the TGV Méditerranée to Saint-Raphaël, this is why the association members require RFF integrates in its studies the data above and to show imagination in research of the solutions to be proposed :

1/ The three big cities of the area, Marseilles, Toulon and Nice, must be disenclosed on the French side, Spanish side and Italian side. On the French side, the relation with the capital city is essential, Marseilles is well served today, Nice very badly, and Toulon poorly. Nice needs TGV, direct and without stop, with Paris which slow down as less as possible between the future station of Saint-Augustin and the station of Lyon. Toulon, which is geographically close to Marseilles, must be able to profit from a time of course not very higher than that of the time of Marseilles-Saint-Charles in Paris, the maximum use of the new infrastructure should allow it.

On the Spanish side, much remains to be made. Spain engaged in a construction industry of TGV lines breaking with the spacing specific to this country. The construction of the Perpignan-Figuéras section is a progress, but the investments to be realized in the Languedoc-Roussillon area only are very partially registered in Ciat of December 13, 2003. The Catalans ask it with insistence because they believe deeply in the positive economic effects of an axis of rail-bound transports along the Mediterranean.

On the Italian side, Marseilles is the most penalized, it is necessary that the Marseilles-Nice trains, being prolonged towards Gènes and Milan, have a time of course between Marseilles and Nice limited to the maximum, which poses the problem of the positioning of TGV line compared to Marseilles and the advisability of integrating this question in the studies subjected to the public discussion. It is necessary also to allow a good connection between TGV network and the Airport of Marignane so that the stations under consideration along the course, in particular that of the Arcs which serves the Peninsula of Saint-Tropez, can be served by express trains conveying the foreigners arriving by plane. It is also the interest of the littoral located between Cassis and Toulon. This last city needs, on the East side, good connections with Italy to profit from the railway hub from Milan, that is fundamental to break its relative current insulation which slows down the results of its initiatives. That means that its connection on the East side on TGV line must be as close as possible of its agglomeration, around Cuers. As for Nice, it is advisable to build the new line up to a point of connection with the existing line which is as close as possible station of Saint-Augustin, to do this one a multimode station, a major point of international connection thanks to the plane and to improve the course time with Vintimille, which will be from now on the assemblage point with the Italian fast lines. But as those will not have, between Gènes and Vintimille, that a block speed of 160 kilometers per hour, one can pose as principle which the Nice-Vintimille course will not have need to be carried out at the TGV speed, which reduces the cost of the investments to be carried out. One could imagine a new connection between East-Nice and Monaco with a tunnel near the principality with the image of what exists, since a few years for the motorway, the remainder being the object, mainly, of work of modernization, in particular in the crossing of Nice whose avoidance would be financially prohibitory.

Beyond these international questions, it is advisable to consider the relation with the TGV of all the localities located along the course, which they are on the littoral or more inside and to allow trains which will have objectives of performances much higher than those which currently exist, to penetrate on the new line or to leave it to use the existing line in several quite selected places. From West to East, one finds successively the urbanization lain between Marseilles and Toulon. The service road by motorway makes the most important communes, with some improvements of road roadway system, accessible at less than one half an hour of stations TGV of the Arbois and Toulon, which is reasonable for the long distances in railroad. Beyond Toulon, the coastal part preceding the solid mass by the Maures remains in the orbit of this city and can be served by its station or Hyères. The East of Var, very populated and very attended by the tourists of the whole world, needs a station. That of the Arcs, located already on the layout of last century, constitutes one of the major assets of the TGV : duration of course with Paris very close to that of Toulon, possibility of express trains with the three international airports, proximity of the motorway, grounds available for the establishment of logistic zones, new installations for the TGV postal, connection with the existing ways to serve the towns of Frejus and Saint-Raphaël. For the Alpes-Maritimes, a connection with the traditional way in Cannes-Mandelieu of the TGV way which continues in exclusive right of way until the accesses of Nice, makes it possible to serve well Cannes, Grasse and Antibes, the localities closer to Nice being pressed on the new station of Saint-Augustin. Construction between East-Nice and Monaco of a new way with a tunnel like that which was dug to connect the principality to the motorway, would allow a valorisation of the international airport of Nice and would facilitate the circulation of trains of freight coming from Italy. This last subject constitutes a supported request of the Chamber of Commerce of Genes. Association considers that the new line to Nice cannot undoubtedly accommodate the goods trains. Beyond, the question deserves to be asked.

All these observations must find their place in the analysis of the forecasts of traffic. This one will not be the same one according to functionalities taken into account. The cost of the various layouts will be naturally variable, but certain prospects for growth of traffic, related to an intelligent design of the layout, stations and trains clocking, can attenuate the additional loads related to expensive works. These elements will have to be analysed when are tackled the questions of financing with, if necessary, a careful thought on what could bring, in the circumstance, a public-private partnership. The foreign experiments are today sufficiently many so that this subject is tackled usefully. Association already appealed, for this reason, with specialists in the subject before the decision of Ciat of December 13, 2003. Their studies, were at the time given to the services of the State and were useful for the decision-making. They concluded positively. Their contents were inevitably summary, the various constraints of the file not having been highlighted, but it was a good starting point. The results of the public discussion must make it possible to bring up to date these studies. The association whose objective is the fastest realization of the new infrastructure, will take an active share with these reflexions during later stages of the project.