Al-Boraq

Last updated

Al-Boraq
Al Boraq RGV2N2 at Tanger Ville.jpg
An ONCF Alstom RGV2N2 high-speed trainset at Tanger Ville railway station in November 2018
Overview
Native nameالبُراق
StatusActive
Owner Morocco
LocaleMorocco
Termini Tanger-Ville Railway Terminal (Tangiers)
Casa-Voyageurs Railway Station (Casablanca)
Service
Operator(s) ONCF
Rolling stock Alstom Euroduplex
History
Opened15 November 2018 [1]
Technical
Line length323 km (201 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Electrification
Operating speed320 km/h (200 mph)
Route map
Railways Morocco.png

Al-Boraq (Arabic : البُراق) [2] is a 323-kilometre-long (201 mi) high-speed rail service between Casablanca and Tangier, operated by ONCF in Morocco. The first of its kind on the African continent, the high-speed service was inaugurated on 15 November 2018 by King Mohammed VI of Morocco following over a decade of planning and construction by Moroccan national railway company ONCF. It is the first phase of what is planned to eventually be a 1,500 kilometres (930 mi) high-speed rail network in Morocco. [3] Al Boraq trains operate over a dedicated high speed line reaching speeds of up to 320 km/h on the 186 km sector between Tangier and Kenitra. From Kenitra trains operate over an upgraded mainline for the final 137 km through Morocco’s most populous corridor via Rabat to Casablanca. [4]

Contents

Name

King Mohammed VI named the high-speed service Al Boraq (البُراق), in reference to the mythical creature that transported the Islamic prophets, [5] notably the prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem during the night journey.

History

Early studies into the feasibility of high-speed rail in Morocco began in 2003, and by 2006 the route between Tangier and Kenitra had been identified as being among the first lines to be constructed. [6] In 2007, preliminary agreements to manage the project had been signed, and ONCF announced plans to purchase 18 Alstom trainsets. [6] [7] In 2008, ONCF said that it planned to begin construction that year, with operations to begin in 2013. [6]

Financing was not finalised until February 2010, when ONCF signed agreements worth 20 billion dirhams (DH). [8] Direct investments came from the Moroccan government, which allocated DH4.8 billion to the project, and European sources, which invested a total of DH1.9 billion, while the remaining DH12.3 billion came from commercial loans. [8] DH10 billion was planned to be spent on infrastructure, with DH5.6 billion going to supporting equipment and DH4.4 billion to rolling stock. [8] At the time, work was expected to start in mid-2010, with service beginning in December 2015. [8] In December 2010, ONCF signed a final agreement to purchase 14 Alstom Euroduplex trainsets. [9] Following further delays, construction of the line began on 29 September 2011, when a ceremonial groundbreaking took place in Tangier. [10]

On 25 September 2012, construction began on a project to increase capacity on the trackage between Kenitra and Casablanca by constructing a dedicated freight track in the existing right of way, allowing for passenger trains to access Casablanca from the high-speed line to Tangier. [11] In addition to the rail construction, stations in four locations (Tangiers, Kenitra, Rabat/Agdal, and Casablanca) were either constructed from the ground up or rebuilt from existing facilities. [12] On 19 June 2015, rolling stock deliveries began with the arrival of the first trainset in Tangier. [13] In September, the service facility for the trains in Tangier was completed and a joint venture between ONCF and French rail operator SNCF was established to maintain the trains for a 15-year contract. [14] In February 2017, testing of the trains at revenue speeds began; during the test program an African rail speed record of 357 kilometres per hour (222 mph) was set. [12]

In October 2017, track construction was completed, followed by the new electric catenary in November. [3] The electrical system was energised for the first time in January 2018, and the line's control facility came online in February. [3] By mid-2018, construction of stations had been completed, though the estimated beginning of service had been pushed back until the end of the year as trial runs over the route had yet to be operated. [3] [12]

On 15 November 2018, the service was inaugurated in a ceremony at Tangier and a special train that operated to Rabat, with revenue service planned to begin by the end of the year. [5] By December 25, 2018, trains were scheduled to depart Casablanca every two hours from 06:00 until 21:00.

The inauguration of the service also came with the opening of several new or renovated train stations: Tanger-Ville Railway Terminal, [15] Kenitra Station, [16] Rabat-Agdal Station, [17] and Casa-Voyageurs Railway Station. [18]

Infrastructure

The line is constructed in two sectionsa new route from Tangier to Kenitra and an upgrade of the existing route from Kenitra to Casablanca. [10] The 186-kilometre-long (116 mi) TangierKenitra line has a top speed of 320 kilometres per hour (200 mph), while the 137-kilometre-long (85 mi) KenitraCasablanca line was rated for 160 kilometres per hour (99 mph) when service began, with a planned upgrade to 220 kilometres per hour (140 mph). [5] The trackage from Kenitra to Casablanca is planned to be eventually replaced by a new high-speed right of way, with construction scheduled to begin in 2020. [5] Two electrification types are usedfrom Tangier to Kenitra the new trackage was built with 25 kV at 50 Hz, while the line from Kenitra to Casablanca retained the existing 3 kV DC catenary. [5] The ETCS-type signal system was installed by Ansaldo STS and Cofely Ineo. [19]

At the launch of service in 2018, the travel time between Casablanca and Tangier was reduced from 4 hours and 45 minutes to 2 hours and 10 minutes. [5] The completion of dedicated high-speed trackage into Casablanca would further reduce the end-to-end travel time to 1 hour and 30 minutes. [5]

Rolling stock

The 12 (14 originally ordered) Alstom Euroduplex trainsets operating on the line are bilevel trains, with each set comprising two power cars and eight passenger cars. [9] [5] The passenger capacity is 533 across two first-class cars, five second-class cars, and a buffet car. [9]

See also

Related Research Articles

Transport in Morocco

There are around 56,986 km (35,409 mi) of roads in Morocco. In addition to 1,808 km (1,123 mi) of highways.

Kenitra city in northern Morocco

Kenitra is a city in north western Morocco, formerly known as Port Lyautey from 1932 to 1956. It is a port on the Sebou river, has a population in 2014 of 431,282, is one of the three main cities of the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra region and the capital of the Kenitra Province. During the Cold War Kenitra's U.S. Naval Air Facility served as a stopping point in North Africa.

ONCF

ONCF is Morocco's national railway operator. ONCF is a state-owned company that is under the control of the Ministry of Equipment, Transport and Logistics and is responsible for all passenger and freight traffic on the national railway network. The company is also responsible for building and maintaining the rail infrastructure.

Marrakesh Railway Station

The Marrakesh Railway Station is a railway station in Marrakesh, Morocco; it is currently the southern end-point of the Moroccan railway system. The current station was opened on August 10, 2008.

This article lists planned or proposed high-speed rail projects, arranged by country. Although many nations have done preliminary feasibility studies, many lines are eventually shelved or postponed due to high cost, and only a few nations of those proposing are actively building high-speed rail lines. Planned or proposed lines are therefore separated here from lines that are under construction, some nations having both. High-speed rail is public transport by rail at speeds in excess of 200 km/h (125 mph).

Rabat–Salé Airport Airport in Morocco

Salé Airport or Rabat–Salé Airport is an international airport located in the city of Salé, also serving Rabat, the capital city of Morocco and of the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra region. It is a joint use public and military airport, also hosting the First Air Base of the Royal Moroccan Air Force. The airport is located about 8 kilometres (5 mi) east-northeast of Rabat and about 90 km (56 mi) northeast of Casablanca.

Rail transport in Morocco

Rail transport in Morocco is operated by the national railway operator ONCF. It was initially developed during the protectorate.

Casa-Voyageurs Railway Station Train stop in Casablanca

The Casa-Voyageurs Railway Station is an ONCF station in the Belvedere neighborhood of Casablanca.

Rail transport in Morocco was initially developed during the protectorate. It functioned primarily as a means to mobilize colonial troops and to transport natural resources. Later, a standard-gauge network was built.

Nador railway stations two railway-stations in Nador, Morocco

The city of Nador in Morocco has two railway-stations: Nador Ville and Nador South. Further on the line there is also a station at Beni Anşār / Aït Nsar and the terminal Beni Anşār / Aït Nsar Port, which is generally indicated as Nador Port station. As with all railway stations in Morocco, these stations are operated by ONCF, Morocco's national railway operator.

Casablanca Tramway Tram system in Casablanca, Morocco

The Casablanca Tramway is a low-floor tram system in Casablanca, Morocco. As of 2019, it consists of two lines - T1 from Sidi Moumen to Lissasfa, and T2 from Sidi Bernoussi to Aïn Diab—which intersect at 2 points and form a 47 km network with 71 stations. Two additional lines, T3 and T4, are scheduled to open in 2022.

Fes railway station

The Fes Railway station is the main station in the Moroccan city of Fes. There are secondary stations for local connections, but this is the station used for the long-distance main-line trains.

Tashkent–Samarkand high-speed rail line

The Tashkent to Samarkand high-speed rail line is a 344-kilometre (214 mi) high-speed rail connection between Tashkent and Samarkand, the two largest Uzbekistan cities. The route passes through four regions: Tashkent, Sirdaryo, Jizzakh and Samarqand in Uzbekistan. Trains operate seven days a week under the brand Afrosiyob. A 141 km long extension to Qarshi started operation on August 22, 2015, though at lower speed of 160 km/h. An extension to Bukhara on the Talgo 250 ran for the first time on August 25, 2016 — marking the completion of a project to modernise the 256 km route from Samarkand. Travel from Tashkent to Bukhara, a distance of 600 km, will now take 3 hours and 20 minutes instead of 7 hours.

Euroduplex French high-speed train

The Alstom Avelia Euroduplex, more commonly known as just Euroduplex, is a high-speed double-decker electric multiple unit train manufactured by Alstom. It is primarily operated by the French national railway company SNCF, and also in operation with the Moroccan national railway company ONCF. It is the 3rd generation of the TGV Duplex.

Narrow-gauge railways in former French Morocco

French Morocco had from 1912 to 1935 one of the largest 600 mm gauge network in Africa with a total length of more than 1,700 kilometres (1,100 mi). After the treaty of Algeciras where the representatives of Great Powers agreed not to build any 1,435 mm standard-gauge railway in Morocco until the standard-gauge Tangier–Fes railway being completed, the French begun to build military 600 mm gauge lines in their part of Morocco French Morocco.

Casa-Port Railway Terminal Railway station in Morocco

Casa-Port Railway Terminal is an ONCF station in the centre of Casablanca, near the Port of Casablanca. It is served by suburban, regional and long-distance trains and is one of the major Casablanca stations, together with Casa-Voyageurs.

Train Navette Rapide

The French: Train Navette Rapide is a Moroccan rail service operated by the ONCF. Its first phase runs from Casablanca to Kénitra with a half-hourly service in each direction, between 6 a.m. and 9.30 p.m. The concept was based on existing Moroccan transport links.

Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Region of Morocco

Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima is one of the twelve regions of Morocco. It covers an area of 15,090 km² and recorded a population of 3,556,729 in the 2014 Moroccan census. The capital of the region is Tangier.

Avelia Horizon High-speed train type

Avelia Horizon is a high speed passenger train manufactured by Alstom. It was developed in the late 2010s and is expected to enter service with French operator SNCF in TGV service in the 2020s.

Tanger-Ville Railway Terminal Train stop in Morocco

The Tanger-Ville Railway Terminal is a train terminal administered by ONCF in Tangier, Morocco. The station is the terminus of the Al-Boraq line, which was inaugurated as the first high-speed rail line in Africa on 15 November, 2018.

References

  1. "'Africa's fastest train' steams ahead in Morocco". Al Jazeera. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  2. "صاحب الجلالة الملك محمد السادس يتفضل ويطلق إسم "البراق" على القطار المغربي الفائق السرعة". Maroc.ma (in Arabic). 12 July 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "ONCF prepares for launch of high-speed services". International Rail Journal. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  4. "TrainReview's guide to Morocco's Al-Boraq high speed train".
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Africa's first high speed line inaugurated". Railway Gazette International. 16 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  6. 1 2 3 "Work on Tanger - Kénitra high speed line to start soon". Railway Gazette International. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  7. "Morocco to order Duplex TGVs". Railway Gazette International. 23 October 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  8. 1 2 3 4 "High speed funding package agreed". Railway Gazette International. 18 February 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  9. 1 2 3 "ONCF to buy 14 Duplex high speed trains". Railway Gazette International . 10 December 2010.
  10. 1 2 "Ceremony launches Tanger – Casablanca high speed project". Railway Gazette International . 29 September 2011.
  11. "Casablanca – Kénitra upgrading starts". Railway Gazette International. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  12. 1 2 3 "Morocco's Al Boraq high speed service to launch by year end". Railway Gazette International. 30 July 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  13. "Africa's first high speed train delivered". Railway Gazette International. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  14. "Tanger high speed train depot inaugurated". Railway Gazette International. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  15. "محطة القطار بطنجة تفتح أبوابها استعدادا لإنطلاق البراق". طنجة 24 (in Arabic). 19 November 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  16. "محطة القطار في القنيطرة تنتزع "جائزة فرساي"". Hespress (in Arabic). Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  17. "المغرب وفرنسا يدشنان "البراق".. أسرع قطار في أفريقيا". www.aljazeera.net (in Arabic). Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  18. "فيديو: افتتاح محطة القطار الجديدة بتمارة بتكلفة 36 مليون درهم". 2M (in Arabic). Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  19. "Tanger - Kénitra high speed line signalling contract signed". Railway Gazette International. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2013.