RFF’s impressive rail network modernisation plan
4 December 2013 • Author(s): Matthieu Chabanel, Deputy General Director, Marketing and Planning, RFF
On 15 October 2012, Réseau Ferré de France (RFF) was ordered by Transport Minister, Frédéric Cuvillier, to table proposals to deliver major rail network modernisation (GPMR). Delivered to the Minister on 19 September 2013, the plan proposed is consistent with efforts to create a shared, long-term vision for rail transportation. According to the plan, €15 billion are to be earmarked for the network – in other words €2.5 billion per year – while a further €2.3 billion are to be specifically devoted to maintenance. But modernisation plans are not an exercise in allocating funds. The aim of the proposals set out in the GPMR is to lay the foundations for a new methodical approach to the network, where user requirements are central to the works scheduling rationale. The plan is, therefore, inextricably linked with the creation of a fully-fledged infrastructure manager and an integrated industrial public-sector group. The purpose of this article is to highlight the key principles that will shape network renewal and modernisation in the coming years.
New approach to network maintenance and modernisation – key principles
Ambitions for the French rail network over the next 10 years are running high, with the dual target being to put the network back on track on a sound and lasting basis, both financially and technically, and to rise to a multiplicity of overarching challenges (safety, traffic regularity and growth, simplifying train usage, shift towards renewable energies, etc.). To cater to these challenges, a new approach to network maintenance and modernisation is a ‘must’.