Industrial sidings

At present a large majority of the points of origin and/or destination of freight traffic are located in the nearly 1,400 industrial sidings of the French National Railway Network. SNCF Réseau is available to perform studies with loading companies and local governments for the creation of new industrial sidings or the reactivation/upgrade of existing ones. In particular, SNCF Réseau can provide information related to the contractual and financial aspects of such a project. SNCF Réseau is also able to supply loading companies with related services.

Opting for logistical performance

An industrial siding is a railway section made up of equipment and logistics installations which are directly connected to the railway lines of the French National Railway Network via a switch. The locations of industrial sidings are listed in Annex 4.4 of the DRR Reference Document.

Our customers who use industrial sidings have made a strategic choice which provides them with high level performance in terms of logistic, financial and environmental benefits:

  • Using industrial sidings allows customers to avoid “reloading costs”, i.e. temporary storage and/or transshipment of goods to an intermediate site. In this way, our industrial customers retain control over their operations, which are performed on their own sites. Goods are also stored on the company’s own sites, which optimises security and reduces the risk of merchandise theft.
  • Customers who use industrial sidings have also made a choice focused on clean transport. Using railway transport significantly contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to improving the “Carbon Assessment” of industrial operations.

Establishing a connection to the French Network - a contractual commitment with SNCF Réseau

SNCF Réseau authorises the connection of an industrial siding to the French National Railway Network after the successful completion of the following steps:

  • The project initiator must sign a financing agreement for each stage of the project, ranging from feasibility studies to financing arrangements for implementation (whose cost is borne by the project initiator).
  • A Railway Connection Agreement must be signed. This agreement defines the administrative, technical and financial conditions related to the management of an industrial siding, which is divided into two parts.

The first part of an industrial siding belongs to SNCF Réseau (the public part) and connects the second part to the French railway network. The second part is owned by the company or local government and is the private part of the industrial siding.

Industrial siding schema

SNCF Réseau provides the maintenance services for the public part of the industrial siding. The contractual agreement stipulates that the connecting company must pay a yearly connection fee which covers the necessary maintenance fees.

In your capacity as the connecting company, you are fully responsible for the 2nd part of the industrial siding and its maintenance. In particular, you are required to undertake all necessary operational actions to allow for the access to or departure from the industrial siding of your arriving and departing trains for the specified period of time. You are also responsible for all upgrades to the trains and their manoeuvres.

Steps for the creation of an industrial siding

The creation of an industrial siding may require several months to several years, depending on the complexity of the project. There are five steps to this process. SNCF Réseau commercial staff provides support to the connecting party throughout the entire process.

  1. Studies to determine the appropriateness of the project and the feasibility of the connection.
  2. Initialisation study to define the design of the first part of the industrial siding, taking into accountprojected traffic volume.

  3. Preliminary project phase followed by the actual project. A financing agreement must be signed for the first part of the industrial siding. A commitment in principle to concluding a connection agreement must also be signed.

  4. After the industrial siding has been built, a connection agreement must be signed. This agreement defines the conditions for the management of the industrial siding.

  5. If all the above steps are successfully completed, the industrial siding may enter into operation.

Taking advantage of related services

Availability of railway network service lines for specific operations

Any owner of rolling stock (connected via an industrial siding, railway carmen, etc.) may ask SNCF Réseau to use the service lines of the French Railway Network for seasonal parking or any other type of specific operation such as minor maintenance for carriages. Each request is subject to a feasibility study to check on the availability of the service line(s) in the given railway station. Following successful completion of this step, SNCF Réseau will offer the owner of the rolling stock a contractual agreement designed to meet its parking needs.

Access to the service lines of the French railway network

For reasons related to the management of your industrial siding, (e.g. collecting carriages parked on railway station service lines), SNCF Réseau may authorise your company – following a feasibility study and under certain technical, legal and contractual conditions – to operate on the French railway network service lines with your own personnel and rolling stock.

Please contact the customer service departments in the different regions for complete information related to the connection of your site to the French railway network or the establishment of a contractual agreement for related services.