FRANCE: Paris operator RATP has successfully completed the relaying of all trackwork on RER Line A, with the restoration of full services at the beginning of September.

Completed in 1977, Line A has seen a 20% increase in ridership over the past decade, and is now carrying 320 million passengers a year, according to RATP. The complete renewal of track and ballast forms part of a programme to raise capacity on the route by a further 30%, which has included the introduction of MI09 double-deck EMUs from 2017. It will also improve ride quality and performance, the operator anticipates.


All trackwork between Nanterre-Préfecture and Vincennes has been renewed by Colas Rail under a contract funded by Île-de-France Mobilités. The work has been carried out in a series of seven summer blockades which began in 2015, split into two phases. The first four years saw complete four-week blockades in the summers of 2015-18, while between 2019-21 the work has been undertaken with overnight and weekend possessions running for around seven weeks each time.

According to Colas Rail Works Director, Thibault Tabourin, more than 1 400 employees have participated in the relaying programme over the seven years. The contractor also developed a bespoke works train to undertake single-line relaying. The project has seen the complete replacement of 24 km of ballasted track and 32 turnouts, leaving one of Europe’s busiest railways ‘fit for the next 40 years’.

The final stage saw evening and weekend services suspended west of Auber, including the branches to Nanterre-Université, Cergy and Poissy, between June 26 and August 29, along with week-long closure of shorter sections. This enabled the replacement of the final 3 km of plain line and seven turnouts.