Brittany Ferries has given the go-ahead to a new rail-freight link between Cherbourg and Bayonne. The ferry company first announced the rail project back in February 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 health crisis hit, forcing a reduction in ferry services for nearly two years. But while the project—which Brittany Ferries deems strategic—was delayed, it was never cancelled.
During the pause, Brittany Ferries worked with French rail network operator SNCF Réseau and the Ministry for Ecological Transition to determine the routing for the new service, which will provide daily return journeys between Cherbourg and Mouguerre. Following a study into the modification of four railway tunnels on the Atlantic corridor route to allow the lowest available wagons to pass through, a framework agreement was signed, allowing the project to enter its concrete development phase.
With support from the State, Europe, and the regions of Normandie and Nouvelle Aquitaine, Brittany Ferries will open the ‘rail motorway’ linking the port of Cherbourg to the European Freight Centre at Mouguerre, near Bayonne, thereby connecting Spain to the UK and Ireland via the French railway network.
The launch of the new service, initially planned for 2022, is now expected by mid-2024.