Morocco - Inauguration of the first HSL in Africa

The result of a Franco-Moroccan collaboration, Africa’s first high-speed line (HSL), running 200 km from Tangier to Kenitra, was officially inaugurated on 15 November in the presence of King Mohammed VI, the French President Emmanuel Macron and all the contributors to this exceptional project. Egis was in charge of the programme management for track, catenary and the construction depots along the entire Tangier-Kenitra line and for civil engineering on the northern section of the line.

A transformational project for Morocco

Initiated by the Moroccan railway authority ONCF, this colossal project to provide high-speed railway service between Tangier and Casablanca has two main components: firstly, a new 186-km HSL designed for speeds of 350 km/h and operated at 320 km/h, running between Tangier and Kenitra; and secondly, the construction of the points of passage and stops used by high-speed trains in the different urban areas through which they will cross (Tangier, Rabat and Casablanca).

This project is the first stage in the deployment of a high-speed line masterplan whose aim is to progressively build a network stretching approximately 1,500 km and comprising an Atlantic corridor (running along a Tangier-Casablanca-Agadir route) and a Maghreb corridor (Casablanca-Rabat-Fez-Oujda).

A challenge-packed project

In addition to its vast infrastructure programme, the project was made particularly complex due to its route passing through a challenging and problematic natural environment (poor soil quality, seismic and climatic risks, areas subject to floods and high winds, waterways to cross, protected zones to avoid, etc).

Engineers had to face up to all these constraints whilst also taking into consideration the technical requirements inherent to the concept of high-speed lines.

Construction work was segmented into four separate earthmoving and standard bridge and tunnel packages, to deal with the 50 million cubic metres of earthworks.

Five other specific contracts were needed to build the 6 km of viaducts, one of which spans 3.5 km across the Hachef Valley, making it the longest passenger rail transportation structure on the African continent.

Alongside the civil engineering works, Egis’s assignment comprised the programme management for all railway plant and fixtures along the whole of the line (track, catenary, construction depots, etc.). Finally, Egis conducted dynamic testing for track and catenary railway fixtures.

This inauguration brings the curtain down on a true adventure experienced by the teams at Egis, and rounds off 10 years of teamwork with the Moroccan ONCF, the project owner.

Having played key roles in building the Moroccan motorway network, LRT networks in Rabat and Casablanca and major buildings (Renault plant in Tangier, Casablanca Grand Theatre), Egis maintains its commitment to the construction of major infrastructure in the Kingdom.