Tata Steel has secured a major order to supply railway lines for a new high-speed track between the French cities of Bordeaux and Tours.
Tata Steel will supply 84,000 tonnes of high quality rail for the new South-Europe-Atlantique line – a 302km (188 miles) long line which will be one of the world’s largest infrastructure projects launched in the last decade.
The steel will be manufactured in Scunthorpe, UK, before being rolled into rail at Tata Steel’s mill in Hayange, north-east France, for delivery from 2014. The company will also supply switches and crossings to the construction consortium COSEA. The total value of the steel supplied will be around €80 million (about £70m).
The South-Europe-Atlantique project is the largest public-private partnership contract ever signed in France’s rail sector. It will connect south-western France with high-speed rail services from northern Europe, including London, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.
Trains travelling at 300km per hour (186mph) will reduce the journey time from Paris to Bordeaux to two hours and five minutes. Work on building 19 viaducts and seven tunnels will start in the first half of 2012. At the peak of the project there will be 4,500 construction workers employed.
Gérard Glas, Head of Tata Steel’s Rail Sector, said: “This is a prestigious project which we are delighted to have secured. We will be supplying rails each measuring 108 metres long. These longer rails give passengers a smoother ride and reduce maintenance costs.
“This order is also an endorsement of our company strategy to invest in premium steel products. We are currently ramping up production at our Hayange rail rolling mill after the completion of a €35 million upgrade. The investment means we can now produce 108-metre rail at our facilities in France and the UK.
“When the first passengers travel on the new line in 2016, they will be able to travel from Paris to Bordeaux in the same time it takes to travel from Paris to Lyon – a fantastic achievement.”
Tata Steel supplied the rail from its Hayange plant for the track on which a TGV broke the world train speed record in 2007. The French train reached a speed of 574.8kph (357mph) between Paris and Strasbourg.
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About Tata Steel in Europe
The European operations of Tata Steel (formerly known as Corus) comprise Europe's second largest steel producer. With main steelmaking operations in the UK and the Netherlands, they supply steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, material handling and other demanding markets worldwide.
Tata Steel is one of the world’s top ten steel producers. The combined group has an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and approximately 80,000 employees across four continents.