Al Boraq TGV: is Morocco high-Speed train >>>> Buy Tickets Here
Hello and Salam and not for the first time on this blog. I’m at a railway station and you know what usually happens next, we’ll be getting on a train somewhere in Europe and it’ll be a quirky historic thing that’s kind of interesting but at the end of the day it’s really old and really slow but today I wanted to go on something brand new and properly fast so I’ve come to Morocco.
this is Casablanca a busy metropolis of three million people and the largest city in Morocco. it’s the economic center of the country full of grand buildings and this won’t come as a surprise to any only speaks Spanish most of them are painted white it’s also home to the spectacular Hassan 2 mosque.
The third-largest mosque in the world and the largest outside Saudi Arabia. It also has the tallest minaret on the planet or at least it did until earlier this year when those pesky Algerians next door built one even taller and of course we are not here to see any of that.
Casablanca central railway station is a lovely old building that you can’t get into anymore because it’s been replaced by a flashy modern upgrade but on this evidence, it’s probably only a matter of time before the old one reopens as an Irish pub. The redevelopment here is just one part of Morocco spanking new high-speed railway, it was inaugurated in November 2018 with the first regular services starting in December, so right now they’re celebrating its first birthday.
The new station has everything that the modern traveler could possibly need from a McDonald’s to a prayer room, in fact, I noticed that the only thing it doesn’t do is tell me what platform my trains going from, luckily a friendly member of staff points me in the direction of platform 4 and tells me to be quick because it’s about to leave.
Here it is the 320 kilometers an hour fastest train in Africa the Al Boraq, it has two electric power cars at either end eight double-decker passenger cars and if you’ve ever been to a place called France then you might get a weird feeling you’ve seen it somewhere before or as we say in English “déjà vu”.
Yep it’s basically a TGV they’re built by the same French company and even the inside looks pretty familiar and I guess that makes sense really, there’s no point reinventing the high-speed railway wheel if you can save money using a design that’s already been tried and tested but while the train itself is kind of French everything else the station’s the track and the infrastructure was built by Moroccans.
From here Al Boraq embarks on its 323-kilometer journey to Tangiers on the northern coast a distance that it will cover in just two hours ten minutes when the old trains needed four hours 45mon, I need to be back in Casablanca this evening so I’m just going one stop to the capital city or about but that still gives me time to sit back and relax as we speed past.
African landscapes at record-breaking speeds or at least we would do if we were on the northern section with the 320 kilometers an hour speed limit this is the southern
the section where it’s limited to 160 so yeah great work Tim you’ve come to Africa to make a video about the fastest train on the continent and it’s only going to go at half speed.
But then I realized if you’re watching my videos expecting journalistic professionalism then I might as well disappoint you now and then we’ve got it over with so here’s my footage sped up twice as fast to show you what it would look like if the train was traveling at full speed and of course traveling that fast it’s not long before we arrive in Rabat.
And it’s another brand spanking new station a quite like what they’ve done here it’s very light and airy and it has burritos but all this construction and investment didn’t come without some controversy Morocco is currently classed as a lower-middle-income economy. So it’s nowhere near the poorest country in the world but it is in the bottom half and spending 2 billion euros on a high-speed railway didn’t go down well with everyone here.
There were some loud voices protesting that it should have been spent on more basic priorities like the education I guess you could say if you watch too many Jay Foreman videos that we won’t know until about 2050 3 when it will be really obvious what they should have done but so far it seems to be going well, passenger numbers are up road traffic accidents are down and in a press conference, the day before my trip the head of Morocco’s railways announced that Al Boraq was very profitable which is very impressive depending what he means by very.
If you’d like to ride on Africa’s fastest train it leaves Casablanca voyageur station on the hour every hour from 6 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. except for 1 p.m. in a for some reason the ticket prices are designed to be accessible to the average Moroccan and my journey from Casablanca to Rabat cost 50 dirhams or about 5 euros and talking of accessibility all the stations and trains on the network have been designed for disabled access. If you’d like to watch the train actually going full speed there’s a link in the description but meanwhile, thank you for reading and I’ll see you soon.
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