FRANCE: The board of Réseau Ferré de France approved a €115m investment package to start the modernisation of Paris RER Line D on July 9.

Linking Orry-la-Ville, Melun, and Malesherbes with a total route length of 160 km, Line D is currently being used by 550 000 passengers/day, which is around 20% of all traffic handled by SNCF’s Transilien business unit. Line D is the worst-performing RER route in terms of delays exceeding 5 min, which affected almost 20% of trains in 2008. Of these 2·7% were attributed to infrastructure problems.

The objective of the first phase of the modernisation is to increase train frequency on the northern section from the current 8 trains/h to 12 trains/h by December 2013, with the introduction of regular-interval timetables, and to improve on-time performance to 90%. Implementation will cost €120m, with the majority of the funding to be provided by RFF.

The programme includes improvements to signalling on the busiest section between Villeneuve-St-Georges and Villiers-le-Bel, as well as upgrading of power supplies and changes to remove operational conflicts at Corbeil. Recovery margins in the terminal layover times at Goussainville will be increased to improve reliability. A new station will be opened at Pompadour in December 2013.

Under a separate project, RFF will work towards the centralisation of operational control of the tracks used by Line D, which are currently managed from 17 different locations. This will improve traffic management and operational efficiency.

At the same meeting, the RFF board also authorised its President Hubert du Mesnil to sign a partnership agreement with STIF covering the period 2009 – 2012. The two organisations will co-operate to improve the co-ordination of infrastructure maintenance and upgrading activities and increase availability.