France to expand its freight railway network
|France plans to invest more than EUR7 billion (US$10 billion) to expand its freight railway network over the next 12 years. |
The Rail Freight of the Future project aims to increase rail's share of non-road transport from 14 per cent to 25 per cent by 2022.
The project will be funded by the state railway infrastructure authority RFF and state-owned railway SNCF, reports Britain's International Freighting Weekly.
Its main objectives are: setting up a network of rail "motorways"; promoting combined transport, with more containers switching to rail; developing high-speed rail links between airports; improving rail infrastructure to and from French ports; encouraging the creation of local rail freight operators; and modernising the slot system for freight trains to improve journey times.
Environmental benefits are central to the programme, which is expected to result in an annual reduction of more than two million truck journeys on French roads and more than two million tonnes of CO2 emissions.
On Wednesday, SNCF started making the latest, of what have so far been abortive, attempts to reform its freight division Fret SNCF.
These are likely to include a restructuring of the single-wagon segment, a major source of losses.
Unions fear that 4,000 to 6,000 jobs could be lost at Fret SNCF over the next two years as a result of the revamp.