Empty Railway Tracks French railway network operator SNCF Réseau, has enhanced its vegetation management operations in response to unseasonable overgrowth, incorporating a state-of-the-art spider excavator to improve track maintenance.

SNCF Réseau successfully completed nearly 300 rail projects this summer

Railway tracks islavicek / Shutterstock

SNCF Réseau successfully completed nearly 300 rail projects across France in July and August 2023. The rail infrastructure manager invested 2.9 billion euros to modernise the French network this year.

France’s capital region of Île-de-France saw an unprecedented volume of worksites this summer, in the run-up to the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. SNCF Réseau stated in a press release that they are aiming to make the Paris region’s suburban network “the most modern in Europe by the end of the decade”.

In Hauts-de-France, the northernmost region of France, a pivotal weekend in mid-August witnessed the installation of three new railway bridges at Avesnelles and Beuvrages. These additions were integrated into major road projects, allowing railway tracks to traverse the newly constructed road lanes. The successful completion of this task necessitated more than 300 personnel and over 300 hours of continuous work. Additionally, the 9th year of work has now begun on the French LGV Nord high-speed line.

In the Centre-Val-de-Loire region, in the heart of the country, track maintenance activities took place between June and August on the historic Blanc-Argent line. This rail system is one of the five metric-gauge track lines currently operational in France, being 1 meter wide instead of the European standard 1,435 mm gauge. The comprehensive renewal work encompassed the entirety of the track at Romorantin, Pruniers, Chabris, and Valençay stations.

In the south

In the region of Occitanie, a significant infrastructure renewal effort unfolded, covering a span of 80 kilometres of railway tracks. This massive endeavour was executed utilising a specialised factory train and encompassed the Beaucaire-Nimes and Nimes-Saint-Gervasy routes.

Over in Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, the first weekend in July witnessed an intensive 32-hour effort to replace two points and their associated tracks at Pas-des-Lanciers.

In western France

Meanwhile, in the Bretagne and Pays de la Loire regions, a prominent construction project took centre stage during the summer months. This endeavour is considered the region’s largest worksite of the year, centred around the Dinan – Lamballe railway line. The comprehensive renewal initiative involved the replacement of 40 kilometres of track, extensive signalling and telecommunications upgrades, drainage system enhancements, as well as the restoration of bridges and tunnels, among other crucial improvements.

Turning our attention to Normandy, an infrastructure revitalization project at Evreux station unfolded from August 21st to October 20th. This endeavour included the replacement of five points, 600 metres of ballast, and 2,200 metres of rail. Additionally, point heaters were modernised to ensure the installations remain operational without freezing during the upcoming winter season.

To the east

Moving on to the Grand Est region, SNCF Réseau undertook substantial regeneration projects on three key rail lines within an impressively short two-month timeframe. The lines in focus were the Mommenheim – Sarreguemines route, the Haguenau – Wissembourg line, and the Saales – Saint-Dié-des-Vosges corridor. These efforts resulted in the complete refurbishment of a combined total of 33 kilometres of railway tracks.

In the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, an ambitious modernization initiative kicked off on July 10th. The primary objective was the comprehensive renewal of the Nevers-Dijon railway line, encompassing the replacement of over 120 kilometres of track, 168,000 metric tonnes of ballast, and 104,000 sleepers.

Lastly, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, significant progress was made on the high-speed rail line connecting Châteauneuf-de-Galaure and Châteauneuf-sur-Isère. A staggering 42 kilometres of track are slated for renewal during the course of this extensive project, which is currently in full swing.

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Author: Emma Dailey

Emma Dailey is an editor at RailTech.com and RailTech.be.

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