The high speed rail link into Normandy has been officially shelved. As expected the new fast lines into Upper and Lower Normandy will not go ahead although there is an outside change they could be revived after 2030.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has accepted the recommendations in the report by Mobilite 21, a cross party investigation team led by Philippe Duron the mayor of Caen, that it cannot justify spending billions of euros in the current economic climate.
Business and industry in Normandy are disappointed at the decision which would have seen a double pronged line from Paris into the region, forking near Rouen and on to Le Havre and Caen. Now only a small part of the new line between Paris and Mantes will be built as this line is severely congested but it will not be high speed.
Lissot Gerard, president of the Association for the Advancement of Paris Normandy Line, said, however, that he has not lost hope. He explained that by pledging to spend â‚¬3.5 billion on the line to Mantes it shows that train networks into Normandy are regarded by the French government as being important.
â€˜Improving the bottleneck at Mantes will impact on the whole of Normandy and it shows the politians believe that Normandy has a priority. The Rouen stretch and particularly the creation of a new station at Saint-Sever could be next on the priority list,â€™ he said.
â€˜I am delighted about the announcement of the Paris-Mantes work. It is an essential first step. I believe that the entire project is still possible,â€™ he added.
The improved line between Paris and Mantes should shave 15 minutes off the journey time to Rouen and Le Havre. There is also a chance that a new station in Rouen could still get the go ahead.
Alain Le Vern, president of the Upper Normandy council said he hopes that the project will be re-visited. He said that the region has set aside â‚¬80 million and â‚¬500 million can be provided as the regionâ€™s share of the cost.
Philippe Edouard, deputy mayor of Le Havre described the decision as a move in the right direction.