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Maintenance & Works

Maintenance operations, surveillance of railway installations, organisation, work site supply chains, implementation of works … 24/7 Maintenance & Works staff ensure the maintenance and modernisation of the railway network. Their aim is to bolster the safety of the railway system and increase its performance.

Maintenance – the cornerstone of the network’s performance

To guarantee a high level of performance, innovation and safety, Maintenance & Works defines priority renewal projects, especially within the framework of the Network Modernisation Plan. It also organises maintenance actions tailored as closely as possible to railway needs:

  • Routine maintenance works. Every year these short-term actions are dedicated to repairs, prevention and railway equipment monitoring. These actions take place during so-called “stabilised” works periods (time periods reserved for recurrent maintenance).
  • Special maintenance works. This involves long-term investment works or the renewal of the railway infrastructure (replacement or major maintenance of railway tracks, switches, infrastructure, overhead lines, etc.). Special works are scheduled during so-called “special” works periods (reserved for specific “one-time” actions which may have an impact on train traffic).
  • Grouped works (by type of action and/or location). These works are planned in accordance with railway timetables (trains running at fixed times and at regular intervals).
Key figures
  • 1,000 km of train tracks completely replaced every year
  • €4.9 billion allocated to the maintenance and modernisation of the network in 2015, with the launching of 1,500 major projects.

Actions aimed at modernising, monitoring and ensuring safety

In addition to its programme, Maintenance & Works is modernising itself, especially in terms of the industrialisation and acceleration of the renewal of railway switches (400 switches were replaced in 2015 and 326 in 2013). Maintenance & Works is also committed to innovation. For example:

  • testing new equipment for the delivery and installation of pre-assembled switches (no longer disassembled parts in kits), such as the WTN trestle wagon (able to transport up to 40 tonnes) and the Kirow crane (the largest in Europe with a lifting capacity of 150 tonnes).
  • surveillance of railway lines via smartphones and tablets
  • reporting malfunctions on the Express Alert platform
  • creation of innovative training programmes

Level crossings and specific actions

Maintenance & Works is also working to improve road safety at level crossings. Some 350 have been or will be eliminated or replaced by bridges or underground passages. In 2014, €50 million were allocated to this end. Other level crossings are being or will be upgraded. Examples include:

  • improved signalling systems (LED lights, variable-message signs)
  • installation of presence sensors, speed and/or clearance radars

Internal organisation focused on safety and innovation

In order to ensure high levels of performance by the railway network, the Maintenance & Works Division defines SNCF Réseau’s policy regarding infrastructure safety. To this end, it is supported by the Maintenance Division. The latter decides on the main technical and financial strategy for maintenance to be implemented in the French railway system.

As for the Security, Quality and Safety Division in Maintenance & Works, it is responsible for technical security and traffic/personnel safety in Maintenance & Works.