1.35 billion for the revival of rail transport

Par ediallo - 26 October, 2021 - 07:17

On the occasion of the Prime Minister's visit to the Pyrénées-Orientales, the government unveiled an ambitious project to revive rail transport, estimated at 1.35 billion euros and built around eight axes. It also announced the re-establishment of the historic Perpignan-Rungis train.

Committed to a policy of energy transition, the government continues its plan to revive rail freight initiated last state by planning to invest 1.35 billion euros, with the aim of doubling the share of rail transport by 2030. This large sum will be divided into eight development areas.

Modernized infrastructure

An initial envelope of 250 million euros will be injected into the creation and renovation of terminal facilities. This year, eight multimodal terminals, including the Calais Turquerie terminal, and 12 branch terminals, including one at the Wallers-en-Fagne quarry, are concerned.

50 projects are planned for the coming years (15 multimodal terminals, 27 ITEs and 8 freight yards). A second envelope of 160 million euros is earmarked for the modernization of service tracks (120 million euros) and wagon sorting facilities (40 million euros).

For 2021, the service tracks at Miramas, Gevrey and Perrigny have already been selected for a total of €13.4 million. Four sites have been targeted for railcar sorting facilities: Miramas, Woippy, Sibelin, and Le Bourget.

A third envelope of 250 million euros will be used to develop the national rail network, in particular to widen tunnels, and to connect rail to the river.

The Atlantic, Dijon/Paris, Luxembourg/Basel, Central Europe Atlantic and Alpine railways are considered priorities, with 19 operations planned, such as the upgrading of tunnels in the Vosges.

As for improving rail access to river ports, six projects have been selected for this year, including one at the Edouard-Herriot port in Lyon, and 17 have already been identified for the future.

A fourth envelope of 50 million euros has been allocated to studies and initial work to adapt the railway network to the traffic of heavy and long trains (850 meters).

A first operation has begun on the access track to the Miramas Clésud ITE and six others will follow, in particular on the Dijon/Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Atlantic routes.

Digitizing and reducing the impact of construction

A fifth envelope of 205 million euros will be allocated to the capillary freight lines, which will be regenerated to ensure their sustainability. 39 million: three in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, two in Centre-Val de Loire, two in Nouvelle-Aquitaine and two in Grand Est.

145 million will be spent on other capillary freight lines. 85 million euros will be spent on digitalization.

The government believes that the use of digital tools is still not widespread in the sector. These tools will be used to improve train geolocation, communication between train crews and drivers, and the management of traffic and transport capacity.

Two digital projects for the future are currently being developed, involving the creation of demonstrators for automatic train couplings and digital brake tests.

A seventh envelope of €205 million will aim to reduce the impact of works on the national rail network, as these affect the quality of train paths. At present, seven worksite optimizations are planned for the period 2021-2022, for a total of €35 million, which should save 1,700 freight train paths per day.

A link with the port world

Finally, an eighth and final envelope of €140 million will support the government's ambition to develop the port sector.

The recovery plan will enable port authorities to carry out rail developments such as extending the port rail network, increasing train capacity, and reducing train loading and unloading times.

To date, 14 projects are planned in seven seaports, including the port of Dunkirk (speeding up train loading/unloading), the port of Marseille (rail facilities at Mourepiane) and the port of Le Havre (optimizing rail interfaces).

Perpignan-Rungis line relaunched

Stopped in 2019, the freight service between the Rungis agricultural products market and the Saint-Charles market in Perpignan was relaunched this month. Lower freight toll costs and support for the implementation of new services have enabled this restart.

Operated by Fret SNCF, this train, which consists of 12 wagons, is used to transport fresh and early products under controlled temperatures on a seasonal basis, between November and mid-July, five days a week.

Through its subsidiary VIIA, the SNCF group plans to ensure the continuity of the Perpignan-Rungis early produce train by launching a new combined transport link on the Le Boulou-Gennevilliers route at a later date.

Olivier ROUSSARD