Africa recorded a landmark achievement when Morocco has inaugurated its first high-speed train, Al Boraq, which begin operating last December on the Casablanca-Tangier line.The inauguration is part of a larger plan to improve the country’s railway system and railway stations, which includes an investment of over 70 billion dirhams (about seven million euros).
The new high-speed line connects Casablanca and Tangier in two hours and 10 minutes, compared to the current speed of four hours and 45 minutes with traditional trains. Concentrating on the northern area of the country, the tracks that arrive in Marrakech will be tripled on the Casablanca-Kenitra stretch and doubled for the Casablanca-Marrakech route.
The Rabat-Agdal high-speed train station is one of the important components of the plan, with an investment of 800 million dirhams to upgrade the 23,000-square-metre Art Deco complex, which dates to the period of the French protectorate. At the end of the renovation, the station will have six platforms with 10 tracks spanning 400 linear metres for arrivals and departures, as well as a parking garage for 800 vehicles and a shopping centre.
Investments are to be made along the entire high-speed line, from Tangier to Casa-Voyageurs, Casablanca’s main train station. In so doing, Moroccan Railways hopes to incentivise railway travel, above all on the high-speed lines, with a goal of six million passengers. Building and implementing the high-speed line took nearly a decade, having started in 2010, and the project was plagued with numerous delays and problems for commuters.
Morocco, after inaugurating Al Boraq TGV, the first high speed rail in Africa, has embarked on large-scale programs to develop its transport infrastructures and other related projects meant to support the development of the railway sector, improve comfort aboard trains, ensure a smooth flow of traffic and reduce travel time.
In this connection, King Mohammed VI launched or inaugurated several projects part of the expansion of railway infrastructure and upgrading of Rail Transport.The sovereign launched the construction works for tripling the Casablanca-Kenitra railway line, inaugurated the completed Casablanca-Marrakech double line, and the TGV commute stations, namely the stations of down-town Tangier, Kenitra, Rabat-Agdal, and Casa-Voyageurs.
These major projects that required a global investment of over one billion Dirhams also include the construction of new train stations in Oujda and Benguerir that will respond to the growth of passenger traffic and support the urban development of the two cities. The Rabat-Agdal train station, inaugurated Saturday by the Sovereign, is one of four state-of-the-art stations built part of the TGV project.
Spaciously designed with a modern architectural touch, the platforms offer passengers and commuters all necessary amenities and services, including access to internet and Wi-fi. All these structuring projects translate the Sovereign’s keenness to promote the transport sector, being convinced of the key role this sector plays in upgrading local development, promoting economic activities, modernizing the urban fabric, and raising the well-being of the population.
Besides, Morocco looks forward to exporting its railway experience to African countries within the frame of the “win-win” partnership and solidarity-based cooperation spearheaded by King Mohammed VI.