In September 2020, at a meeting of the French Cabinet of Ministers, a plan for the recovery of the country’s economy (France relance) after the COVID-19 pandemic was presented.
Its budget is 100 billion euros, which is 4 times higher than the budget of the economic rescue plan after the global financial crisis in 2008 and amounts to 4% of France’s GDP. The measures included in this plan aimed at supporting the railways have now become known.
For the restoration of the transport sector, the government is allocating 11.5 billion euros, including 4.7 billion euros for rail transport.
The agreement between the government and the French National Railways Society (SNCF) identifies infrastructure renewal, station accessibility, maintenance of low-traffic lines, development of freight rail traffic and restarting night trains as the main priorities.
The budget provides 250 million euros for the modernization of the network of freight lines, 300 million euros for the preservation of inactive regional and local lines and 100 million euros for the restart of night trains on two directions. It is planned to allocate 3.8 billion euros to investment projects of the infrastructure operator SNCF Réseau. In 2021, SNCF expects to implement about 1,700 projects with a total value of 5.8 billion euros (from all sources of funding).
In particular, it is planned to repair and update 745 km of track, replace 470 turnouts, modernize 317 km of the contact network.In accordance with a 2014 law, SNCF Réseau will finance measures to ensure the safety of local government-owned bridges over railways.
The operator will also have to introduce new environmentally friendly technologies to combat vegetation in the right-of-way.Intercity passenger operator SNCF Voyageurs will expand the geography of night trains. The Paris – Briançon and Paris – Latour de Carole routes that are in force since 2019 will be supplemented by the Paris – Nice (from April 2021) and Paris – Tarbes (from the end of 2021) routes. 51 passenger cars will be modernized for these trains.
The rail transport support plan provides for the allocation of 120 million euros to finance the acceleration of work to improve the availability of stations, including 70 million euros for 2021 – 2022. and € 50 million after 2023 (photo: SNCF).
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