Following the success of the €2.1bn high-speed rail line between Tangier and Casablanca, Morocco is planning to extend the existing line to Marrakech, and then to Agadir.
Mohamed Abdeljalil, the Moroccan transport minister, announced the government’s plan during a speech to the country’s House of Representatives, in which he said the €11bn project was a priority for the kingdom, reports Morocco World News.
He said the finance could come from a public–private partnership deal. According to the France Info website, Morocco may look for French help, as it did with the Tangier–Casablanca line, or it could take up the expressions of interest made by Chinese industrial group Zhongneng Xuanzong Industrial.
The Tangier line was partially funded by a €625m loan from France, along with €80m from the Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development. It was built by Moroccan contractor Société Générale des Travaux du Maroc along with a number of French companies including Alstom, the Ansaldo-Ineo group, and a Colas Rail–Egis Rail consortium.
The new lines will form part of the National Office of Railways’ 2040 plan to connect some 43 cities and towns with network that includes 1,300km of high-speed lines and 3,800km of conventional track.
The 320 km/h Tangier–Casablanca link, Africa’s first high-speed rail system, was completed in 2018. It has now cut the travel time between the two urban centres from 5h to 2h 10m.