The National Plan for the Development of Railway Infrastructure continues to improve Morocco's railway network system. Now, the Kingdom intends to develop two new train lines, according to Mohamed Abdeljail, Minister of Transport and Logistics, who appeared before the National House of Representatives.
According to the minister, the two new projects will be high-speed trains (LGV) with which he intends to start expanding its railway network. The first of these will connect the city of Marrakech with Agadir, with a distance between the two cities of 249 kilometres in total. The second of these is an extension to Marrakech of the route linking Tangier with the city of Casablanca, which previously covered a distance of 353 kilometres and will now run for 590 kilometres.
This new project will be the start of the expansion of the country's rail network. At present, Morocco has only 23 urban areas that can be reached by train. The extension of these routes will increase the travel system in at least 43 cities by 2040.
Moroccan authorities with expertise in this sector claim that the two lines will provide a safe and reliable connection between the north and south of the Kingdom, allowing access to the most Saharan regions. Moreover, opening the door to these southernmost cities will revitalise the country's economy and tourism in the wake of the coronavirus that has forced the cancellation of all the nation's plans, and seriously affected the tourism and hospitality sector.
Abdeljail points out that the plan is a priority for the Kingdom. He says the Moroccan government and his department will invest around 100 billion dirhams to make the project a reality. At the moment, construction has not started and the project is at the stage of mobilising funding for further construction.
The two new infrastructures are part of the policy of expanding the national train network. This was imposed by the National Office of Railways (ONCF) in its draft 'National Plan for the Development of Railway Infrastructure', which aims to build around 1,300 kilometres of high-speed lines and another 3,800 kilometres of railways running through the cities
This department of the Moroccan government is starting with plans and measures that will bring about a revolution in the railway network. Earlier this year, the ONCF announced the introduction of Al Boraq trains that use clean energy to run on the tracks. The office intends to start using 25% green energy consumption, increasing year by year until these vehicles use 100% green and clean energy.
It was also announced that investment will be made to reform the infrastructure of the train network, which will be put into operation between 2022 and 2024. The aim of this idea is to rehabilitate the buildings where passengers take the train and, at the same time, to strengthen the connection between the different regions of the nation. The focus will be on the larger cities, as this is where much of the country's economic life takes place and where the system is most used.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) also operates in partnership with the ONCF. It recently made an investment of 300 million dirhams to upgrade and modernise the railway sector. The money will be used mainly to increase the capacity of the railway axis running between the cities of Marrakech and Tangier.
Another idea being pursued is the 100% digitalisation of new services that will offer customers and people who mainly use the train network easier, more accessible and more pleasant journeys to enjoy. The ONCF aims to provide a comprehensive service to users with these new four services. From the moment a person starts looking for and organising a journey, to even after getting off the train and arriving at their destination, the new service will inform consumers of any details.