The other players in the railway sector

Even though SNCF Réseau plays a central role in the French railway ecosystem, the state-owned company also works closely with a wide range of private and institutional partners, both French and European. Some of these players are directly involved in managing and operating the network, while others have a supervisory role.

The institutions and firms which shape the French railway system

The roles and missions of the players in the French railway system

SNCF Réseau works closely with many different firms and local governments on a wide range of tasks from the designing of railway projects to the use of the tracks.

Since its creation on 1 January 2015, all missions related to the management of railway infrastructures in France have been concentrated under the responsibility of SNCF Réseau.

The French public authorities also play a decisive role:

  • The French State defines the overall orientations and major upgrade projects. It also contributes to the financing of development and network renovation projects.
  • The French Regions are entrusted with an increasing number of responsibilities related to public transport. In their capacity as an organisational authority, they define financing policy. The Regions also provide a part of the financing for the network within the scope of the State-Region Project Contracts.

In terms of use, 24 French, regional and foreign companies use the 30,000 km of track which criss-cross France.

For maintenance and network development works, SNCF Réseau works with service providers such as SCET, XELIS, SYSTRA and SETEC. These firms must comply with the commitments made by SNCF Réseau in relation to sustainable development.

The very large infrastructure projects are handled by specialists such as Effage, Vinci or Bouygues. These public works firms are especially involved in the construction of new LGV high-speed lines.

Vue aérienne du Viaduc de la Moselle

The future railway system

By 2030, 800 km of new lines will be built, including 100 km for connection purposes to the existing network. This represents an additional 33% of LGV high-speed lines for a total investment of 15 billion Euros.

To successfully complete these major projects, 3 public-private partnerships have been concluded:

  • Liséa (Vinci Group), for the construction of the South Europe-Atlantic high-speed railway line (LGV SEA)
  • Ere (Eiffage Group), for the construction of the LGV high-speed Brittany-Loire line
  • Oc’Via (Bouygues Group), for the construction of the Nîmes-Montpellier bypass

Railway supervisory authorities

Several organisations are involved ensuring the safety of the railway network, the fair treatment of all customers and compliance with the principles of sustainable development.

  • The Railway Safety Public Establishment (EFSF) ensures compliance with safety rules on the entire railway network. This organisation works under the authority of the Ministry responsible for transport.
  • The Environmental Authority makes sure that environmental issues are considered in all aspects of railway activity. This organisation measures the impacts of different projects and is responsible for informing the public.
  • L’Autorité de Régulation des Activités Ferroviaires (ARAF) is in charge of ensuring equal treatment for all players involved in the railway system. In this way, it ensures free market conditions.
  • The Transport Service Quality Authority was created to inform passengers of their rights. For example, it explains the procedures to be followed in the event a train is late or cancelled. By regularly publishing indicators about the regularity and punctuality of trains as well as the travel information provided to passengers, this organisation encourages operators to constantly improve their services.

Major European players

SNCF Réseau works with several international bodies in order to ensure optimal complementarity for European projects: