RFF President Hubert du Mesnil joined his SNCF counterpart Anne-Marie Idrac in Toulouse on July 25 to sign a rail plan for the Midi-Pyrénées region which will see €820m spent on track renewals and capacity enhancements for TER services in 2007-13.

To assist the development of its local rail network, the Midi-Pyrénées region is providing €500m, with project manager RFF contributing €200m, of which €138m will be spent on track renewals. RFF is delegating project management to SNCF, which will be assembling a dedicated team of 50 staff based in the region.

The region is embarking on what is claimed to be the largest programme of its kind in France after commissioning a report from Swiss consultancy SMA, co-funded by RFF. This concluded that continuing with existing maintenance practices at historic funding levels would lead to the entire network in Midi-Pyrénées closing to passenger traffic, with the exception of the main Agen – Toulouse – Castelnaudary and Brive – Montauban routes.

The renewals programme is due to begin in September 2008 with the 14 route-km between Figeac and Bagnac. Major capacity enhancement schemes include a €53m project to install double track between Saint-Sulpice and Seillan, €35m to install a dynamic passing loop between Baraqueville and Naucelle and resignalling Toulouse – Tessonnières at a cost of €24m.