Engineers in Morocco are preparing to test Africa’s first high-speed train this week. The new trains can reach speeds of about 320 kilometres (200 miles) per hour. The French-made double-decker TGVs are being tested ahead of the launch of a flagship new line connecting Tangier with Morocco's economic capital, Casablanca in 2018.
They will cut the journey time between the two cities by more than half - to just over two hours; double the speed of South Africa's Gautrain, launched in 2012.
The project, 50 percent financed by France through various loans, which has been in development for over 10 years has already cost about $2.4 billion (N876 billion), and it is still set to go 15 percent over budget.
But authorities maintain that the project had cost “less than 9 million euros per kilometre, compared to a European standard of 20 million euros per kilometre”. The Moroccan rail authority is targeting six million travellers a year after three years of operations, and they project that tickets would cost about 30 percent more than those for the current rail link.
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