ALL THE T’s
THT, TGV, TNT, T423
Yes, you’re right – I made the last one up but it can be very confusing living in the PO ‘amongst the Ts’ so here are a few reminders of what they all mean.
THT (Très Haute Tension)
A project to install a double extra-high voltage line (400,000 volts each way) in the department of the Pyrénées-Orientales, leading into Spain. After years of fighting this initiative, it was decided that the line would not pass through the Vallespir or the Albères. Alternatives were studied for an undersea or underground line, which would cross the P.O. underground between Baixas and the Albères following the TGV track or motorway, under a 6m90 strip which the public should not drive over, as a health and safety precaution and the decision was made to bury the line following the TGV route into Spain. This is expected to be finished by 2015.
TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse)
The creation of a new TGV line between Perpignan and Barcelona via le Perthus was intended to revolutionize travel time between the two cities, changing the journey from 2h45 to 50 minutes! The completion date of 2009 was then put back to 2012 at the earliest, as excavation works in Barcelona created problems for the foundations of buildings such as Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. The original plan to take the TGV around the western side of the town was abandoned and the decision made to direct the line UNDER Barcelona via a tunnel., a safer option apparently but one which will take a further three years to complete.
The TGV line between Perpignan and Figueras is now in use, and the first passengers went choo choo-ing along these 44,4 km of track in the spring of 2010.
Between 2010 and 2012 passengers took the TGV to Figueras (20 minutes) and crossed a platform for a conventional train to Barcelona (1½ hrs), a change made necessary for the time being because Spanish conventional tracks have a wider gauge (1668-m) than the standard European ones (1435-m). This train now arrives and leaves at the new TGV station of Vilafant, on the other side of the town from the Figueras station, near the Sant Ferran Castle, so a train change is no longer necessary.
The new Figueras Vilafant TGV station
From Figueras, the line is not yet totally ’à grande vitesse’ as the track is still not yet adapted in our little corner of the world. However, it chugs along at a very reasonable 200kph, taking 50 mins to Barcelona Sants, the main station. Half hourly navettes or shuttles will then take you on to the airport if that is your final destination. You will need to go up the escalator into the main station for this airport connection). Depending on the time and date of your travel, a single ticket to Barcelona will cost you around 21 euros from Figueras, and double that from Perpignan.
At a cost of 1,096 milliard (one thousand million) euros, for the Perpignan – Figueras stretch, the final figures are not yet in as we await the finished TGV route with bated breath!
LGV (ligne à grande vitesse)
The TGV track which is different to a normal railway track. (not a T I know – just snuck it in!)
TNT (Télévision Numérique Terrestre)
Known as “La Télévision Numérique pour Tous” (*digital television for all) TNT has been available in the Pyrenees-Orientales since October 2006, for those within reception distance of the Pic Neoulous.
Since 2010, the old analogue (analogique) television service throughout France has gradually been replaced by digital (numérique) TV.
From the 29th November 2011, if you did not have a television adapted to TNT, be it via a new aerial, satellite, cable service, ’boitier de décodage’ (TNT decoder box) or internet broadband, you could no longer watch the main French television channels. (TF1, France 2, France 3, France 5/Arte, M6)
New televisions now have TNT aerial decoder built in.
An non alcoholic alternative to ‘wine for two’ or beer for two’!!