TGV traffic between Luxembourg and Paris will be interrupted during the 2024 Olympic Games due to a construction project that national railway company CFL says cannot be carried out at another time.
The countdown has started: in less than 500 days the official opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics will take place in Paris. The Games will probably not be held this close to Luxembourg again in the foreseeable future, which is why many sports fans are preparing to travel to this extraordinary event. Those who wanted to travel there by TGV, however, will unfortunately have to find another solution.
The problem lies with the Hammerel bridge, which is located just above the Bettembourg train station. The bridge is in poor condition and needs to be replaced by the Bridges and Roads Authority. Such works are organised well in advance and the date for this site was set two years ago. In the summer of 2024, between 26 July and 11 August, the old bridge will thus be demolished and replaced with a new structure.
During this period, no train or TGV will be able to pass through Bettembourg, a disruption that will have a certain impact on all rail traffic in the south of the country. Some lines will even be stopped for close to a month: Luxembourg City-Bettembourg, Bettembourg-Esch-sur-Alzette, Bettembourg-Dudelange, and Bettembourg-Thionville.
As the line is already shut down, the CFL will take advantage of this to carry out other important work, notably at the Howald interchange and around the central station, in order to prepare the new railway line between Luxembourg and France.
Although discussions between the CFL and the roads authority took the Paris Olympics into account, other factors, such as the summer period, which is favourable for this type of work since many commuters are on holiday, were considered more important.
French border workers are also coming back to work earlier as their summer holidays end in late August, which strongly limits the period during which this work can be carried out. There was also talk of delaying the work by a year, but as other construction sites have already been planned, this would have complicated the situation even further.
Authorities further considered diverting the TGV via line 70 through Pétange, but due to the size of the trains, they would have caused delays and repercussions on the French network.
To sum up, visitors of the Paris 2024 Olympics who do not wish to travel by car or plane will have to rely on replacement buses between Luxembourg and Thionville, or even Metz. French railway company SNCF, for its part, has been keeping a low profile. They have been informed of the construction site across the border, but do not wish to comment further on the situation.