The Nîmes and Montpellier bypass moves forward with SYSTRA
Launched in 2012, the New Line project, also known as the “CNM” (Contournement de Nîmes et Montpellier, or the Nîmes and Montpellier bypass), entered a new stage in 2016 with the installation of railway equipment: rail track, catenaries, cable conduit, signalling equipment, etc. Commissioning is scheduled for October 2017.
The first mixed and scalable New Line
Work on the Nîmes and Montpellier bypass is underway: SYSTRA is in charge of an integrated project management consortium on behalf of the OC’VIA Construction consortium. This is the first “mixed” and scalable New Line, designed to accommodate both passenger and freight traffic. This HSR is 80km long (a current section of 60km between Manduel and Lattes and 20km of connection sections).
With a regional rail network which is overloaded, the aim is to improve transport coverage by easing traffic on the existing line by removing freight traffic and part of the high speed service. This new line will also lead to a gain of 20 minutes on a direct Paris to Montpellier trip by high-speed train, reducing the journey time to three hours.
In 2016, the installation of railway equipment
Following design studies, which took place between 2012 and the beginning of 2014, then civil engineering work in 2014 and 2015, the teams have now begun the process of installing railway equipment. A new innovative feature has been introduced in the meantime: the laying of a road base asphalt. This underlying structure will mean that fewer materials are used and will enable a large share of the work to be carried out in road mode, therefore making a high level of simultaneous work much easier. Maintenance will also be improved, as the road base asphalt stops weeds from growing and absorbs vibrations.
After the railway equipment will come signalling (automatic light blocking and level 1 ERTMS), the installation of electrical power supply (catenaries and substations) and the laying of rails on the ballast and concrete sleepers. Pre-commissioning testing of the section will take place in 2017. The line will then be ready to accommodate freight train traffic at 120km/hour and passenger traffic at 220km/hour initially, and then at 300km/hour in the long term.