A high-speed train reminiscent of those in Asia and Europe opened in Morocco just over a year ago, cutting in half the travel time between Casablanca and Tangier and reaching speeds of more than 300 km per hour.
The train, the Al Boraq, took 7 years and $2.4 billion to complete and runs the 320 kilometres between Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier, which lies on the northern tip of Africa, facing Spain.
The train’s speeds put it alongside those of of France, Germany, Japan and Spain as the fastest in the world after China. When the train was launched, Reuters noted that it was twice as fast as the Gautrain that links O.R. Tambo International Airport, Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Our correspondent Bruce Marais caught the train this week, and said the service was impeccable and the train was known to be on time all the time (although travellers should take note that not all the sign boards in the stations have identifiable words or numbers, so get there early to make sure you know which platform you’re leaving from).
The Moroccan train company, ONCF, has more than its initials in common with the French national rail company SNCF, and its trains were built by the same company as the TGV. So expect to find similar carriages and comfort.
The train runs from Casa Voyageurs railway station in Casablanca (or its brand-new next-door counterpart) to Tanger Ville station in Tangiers.