LGV Sud Europe Atlantique

The Sud Europe Atlantique HSL is a major project for the Greater Southwest. In 2017, it connected Paris to Bordeaux in just 2 hours, compared to 3 hours previously.

A major route for the Greater Southwest

Inaugurated on 1 July 2017, the Sud Europe Atlantique High-Speed Line (SEA HSL) is now the second busiest railway line in France, with more than 20 million passengers (Figures from SNCF Voyageurs, 2019).

As the backbone of the New Aquitaine Region, the SEA HSL has helped increased daily train ridership in the Greater Southwest area and Occitanie.

The main project stages

Signature of the concession contract. Consultation, study and design, and regulatory approvals. Geotechnical surveys, preventive archaeology (search for sites, excavations). Land acquisitions, diversions for construction work.
Infrastructure and civil engineering work (earthworks, tunnels and bridges, platforms).
Work on railway equipment (tracks, overhead lines, power, signalling, telecommunications).
Testing, trial runs, and approvals. Delivery of the HSL in the summer of 2017, one month ahead of schedule. The Sud Europe Atlantique HSL was completed in February 2017 and opened on 2 July of the same year.

Since the launch of the project, special attention has been paid to employment on the SEA HSL.

This major project naturally created many jobs. A study by the Utopies consulting firm to understand the impact of the 4-year construction project on local communities found that it directly created an average of 3,068 jobs per year during construction, with 9,000 jobs at the project’s peak. To ensure the project had a positive impact on economic development in the area, as many local workers as possible were hired. A third of the workforce along the entire route was recruited and trained locally thanks to a collaboration with several partners: the State, the Region, Pôle Emploi (France’s national employment agency), consular chambers, and trade unions.

During the operational phase, MESEA, the company that maintains the line, is particularly committed to training its maintenance operators. MESEA Academy trains MESA employees on maintenance and railway safety.

Fonds SEA pour la transition des territoires

In early 2021, the “Fonds SEA pour la transition des territoires” endowment fund will bring together the LISEA Biodiversity Foundation, the LISEA Carbon Foundation, and the “Sillon Solidaire” endowment fund since their commitments are nearing completion. This unique fund will allow LISEA to continue the work it began in 2012 to support local communities working on the ecological and social transition. In keeping with the approach taken by the foundations, the endowment fund will focus on creating long-term partnerships with local stakeholders to take advantage of their technical and scientific knowledge and their understanding of issues and needs in the area. The first call for projects will be launched in the first half of 2021, focusing on the agroecological transition and the challenges of social integration in the agricultural sector, which is directly affected by these issues and has a strong potential to contribute to economic integration.

Do you want to learn more about the Sud Europe Atlantique HSL?

Visit the LISEA website Visit the LISEA website  

Hervé Le Caignec graduated from École Spéciale des Travaux Publics (TP86) and started his career building and maintaining road infrastructure.

He then oversaw the development and operation of major infrastructure through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) both in France and abroad. He spent 14 years at the VINCI Group, 4 years at SNCF, and 10 years at the Caisse des Dépôts Group. In March 2017, he was named Chairman of LISEA, the concession holder for the Tours-Bordeaux high-speed line.

A graduate of École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Gilles managed the Île-de-France regional branch for Egis Aménagement (transport and mobility engineering, urban development, etc.). He then served as Managing Director of the European Economic Interest Grouping that manages and operates the Mont Blanc Tunnel for ATMB and the Italian Mont Blanc Tunnel Company (SITMB).

He became the new Managing Director of Oc’Via on 1 May 2019.