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Author Topic: Macron announces big investment in French railways  (Read 720 times)
Jamsdad
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« on: July 14, 2020, 05:18:55 pm »

Interviewed today, French President Macron has announced a massive development in rail freight, a reintroduction of overnight sleeper services and redevelopment of services on minor lines. Badly needed after the last decade of "nothing but TGV"!
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stuving
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2020, 06:22:04 pm »

There's not a lot of detail on this, as it's going to be part of the EU relaunch package and that's not due to be announced until September. A global figure of at least €100Bn is being given, but that has to be shared by a lot of other green stuff - insulating schools, care home, and houses included.
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Lee
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2020, 01:11:22 am »

I fancy the idea of retiring to a cottage in the countryside - to an old station that's perhaps disused but has trains passing by occasionally, or is open and used by a smattering of passengers.

- A rail enthusiast property developer is currently redeveloping the historic station building at Pontivy, which still sees fairly regular freight trains, and you could view these at your leisure from one of the 4 duplex apartments being built on the upper levels. He is doing this in conjunction with the local authorities, who are building one of your favourite things in the whole wide world - a bus/rail interchange! This will include a new waiting hall, ticket office and retail space on the ground floor, the idea being to integrate regional bus, local bus, cycle routes etc with the revived tourist passenger trains that were due to start this summer but, thanks to Covid-19, are more likely now in 2021 as a first step to full passenger rail reopening - thus creating grahame heaven in the process.

Here is a translated article from Reporterre on hopes for the renovation and restoration of passenger trains on the Saint Brieuc-Pontivy-Auray line as part of the Macron initiative:

Quote from: Reporterre
Closed for thirty years, the TER railway line which crosses Brittany from north to south could resume service. At the initiative of this possible renaissance, a collective of railway workers and a train enthusiast who campaign for the return of rail to rural areas.

The ballet of TER coaches makes the windows of buildings vibrate around the Pontivy bus station (Morbihan). Travelers protect themselves from the July sun under the only bus shelter, planted at the corner of the car park. Since the station closed in 2014, it's the only place to wait. But not for long. In a few months, the renovated building will reopen its doors to the public, thanks to Jean-Philippe Van Walleghem . This entrepreneur, passionate about trains, has invested 1 million euros to buy and renovate the station of this sub-prefecture of 15,000 inhabitants, abandoned since the collapse of part of its ceiling.

The work is progressing well. That morning, the workers carefully install the new clock on the pediment. “  A clock is the heart of a station,  ” smiles the new owner. In a few months, an SNCF counter will be installed there. And Jean-Philippe Van Walleghem does not intend to stop there. “  The reopening of the station is the first step. The ultimate goal is the return of the passenger train  !  "

It has been thirty years since Pontivy has not welcomed a single one. The railway line going from Saint-Brieuc (Côtes-d'Armor) to Auray via the city only sees a few freight wagons circulating. It is therefore by bus that the inhabitants go to the neighboring department, for a carbon footprint nearly twice as high. “  We have to bring trains back here. Buying the station is a militant act  , ” says Jean-Philippe Van Walleghem, a construction helmet adorned with the inscription “  station master  ” on the head.

And he is not alone. At his side, around fifty elected officials, activists and citizens are united in the collective “  Center-Bretagne en train  ”, founded two years ago to revive the rail link between the north and the south of Brittany. . The challenge is twofold: to increase freight and, above all, to get passengers back on track. The key is to open up the area and reduce road traffic.

“  When you look at the map of the region's rail network, there's a big hole in the middle. It is the center of Brittany  ”, describes Simon Brunet, railway worker member of the CGT and founder of the collective. “  It is a territory which is suffering, which is even declining. Equal treatment between citizens also involves mobility, and bus connections are not a solution for the future.  " 140,000 people live along the line. So many potential passengers.

The idea of ​​relaunching this train link is not new, but the climate emergency has accelerated the thinking. "  The ecological context was the trigger for setting up the collective,  " says the railway worker. A public meeting organized in Pontivy in November 2019 attracted around sixty people. On July 14, Emmanuel Macron announced that he wanted to develop small train lines, freight and night trains. At the same time, citizen initiatives aiming to defend or promote the train are multiplying. The Railcoop cooperative , with which the Breton collective is in contact, thus wants to relaunch the Bordeaux-Lyon train line, abandoned by the SNCF . " We feel that we have an openness, that the context is favorable to the debate  ", rejoices Simon Brunet, "  and we are going to seize it  " .

From his station under construction, Jean-Philippe Van Walleghem also feels this enthusiasm. “  It is not a question of starting trains with three travelers, it would take a market study, suitable schedules… But the community of communes [Pontivy community] has 45,000 inhabitants, that's still quite a crowd  !  " The collective hopes of reopening the Breton online travelers within five years.

It would not be a first, moreover. In 2016, a section of the TER line between Oloron-Sainte-Marie and Bedous, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, was put back into operation after fifty years of closure. The cost of 102 million euros was fully covered by the former Aquitaine region. In Brittany, the Auray-Saint-Brieuc project is supported by many local elected officials from north to south of the line. In Saint-Brieuc, the new municipal team of the ecological left is in favor, as is that of Pontivy.

"  But it is those who hold the purse string that must be convinced,  " recalls Simon Brunet. The collective estimates the cost of modernizing and operating the train link at 100 million euros. A sum that would be shared by SNCF Réseau, owner of the rail infrastructure, and the Brittany region, responsible for organizing transport.

The latter does not plan to reopen the line for the moment. "  At this stage, the Brittany region has not taken part in any discussion on the subject,  " said the vice-president for transport, Gérard Lahellec. He recalls that the community has "  agreed to co-finance infrastructure work to allow freight trains to continue to serve businesses in central Brittany  " since 2007. The Brittany region has also invested heavily in the TER , spending 160 million euros to renovate several lines.

“  We understand this position,” says Simon Brunet. As this line is of national importance for freight, the State must also assume its responsibilities.  " The group intends to take advantage of regional elections in March 2021 to highlight the subject of renovation and the creation of small lines. "  We do not want the issue of the train to be confined to speeding up connections with Paris, " said the unionist. Living in the country is a right. To ensure equality between the territories, there must be solidarity between profitable lines and those which are not. The “next world” also goes through this.  "

Pontivy station will reopen its doors in a year. Cap, whistle and SNCF badge , the outfit of station master Jean-Philippe Van Walleghem is already ready. He is convinced: the train will whistle again three times in central Brittany.
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Hal
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2020, 03:22:16 pm »

About the revived sleeper trains, French press reports quote transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari as saying the first would be on the Paris-Nice line, and the second would link Paris with the Pyreneen city of Tarbes.

Until 2017, Paris and Tarbes were linked by the night train known as La Palombe Bleue (the Blue Woodpigeon).

In its previous incarnation the Woodpigeon was extended from Tarbes to Hendaye in the Basque Country on France’s Atlantic coast. Trains left Paris-Austerlitz at 21.52 and arrived in Hendaye at 09.24.

I recently read somewhere about Austrian railways reintroducing night trains, but I can’t recall the details. Perhaps some Coffee Shop reader has the facts?
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Hal
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2020, 04:34:30 pm »

The French press also reports today that prime minister Jean Castex has outlined plans for increased freight traffic on specialist routes, as well as reduced freight tariffs.

Notably, he intends to revive the Perpignan-Rungis route which, until halted last year, used refrigerated wagons to bring fresh fruit and vegetables from the south of France to Paris’s wholesale market at Rungis. Castex also said the line could be extended at both ends — to Barcelona in the south and Antwerp in the north.

The fresh produce train was controversially discontinued last year, and fruit/veg from Spain, Morocco and southern France is now hauled by lorry.

Castex also announced two new freight routes - from Bayonne near the Spanish border to Cherbourg on the English Channel, and from Sète on the Mediterranean to Calais. Not clear what he envisages these trains will carry.
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Lee
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2020, 06:24:49 pm »

I recently read somewhere about Austrian railways reintroducing night trains, but I can’t recall the details. Perhaps some Coffee Shop reader has the facts?

They resume as follows:

Vienna - Milan   1 August
Milan - Vienna   4 August
Munich - Milan   3 August
Milan - Munich   2 August

See here for more details.
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rogerpatenall
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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2020, 10:18:13 am »


Castex also announced two new freight routes - from Bayonne near the Spanish border to Cherbourg on the English Channel, and from Sète on the Mediterranean to Calais. Not clear what he envisages these trains will carry.

The Cherbourg link is being planned in association with Brittany Ferries. Unaccompanied trailers will be taken to the ports in Ireland (principally), but also in England. Transhipped by the shipping company to train at Cherbourg, and then the trailers picked up by local drivers in Bayonne (and vv). Freight will, as I understand it, be exclusively complete trailer units, minus tractors.
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