FRANCE: Investment totalling €15bn over six years would be concentrated on the conventional network to improve reliability, capacity and safety under a plan which infrastructure manager RFF has submitted to Transport Minister Frédéric Cuvillier.

The minister requested the plan following a third audit undertaken by the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne last year.

To improve the reliability of both passenger and freight services, the number of incidents caused by infrastructure failures would be reduced and the resilience of the network improved to reduce external causes of delay such as level crossing accidents, cable theft and vandalism. Better operating procedures would reduce the impact of incidents causing delay.

Measures to increase capacity include further deployment of GSM-R and ETCS and prioritising investment at key locations such as Paris Lyon, Lyon Part-Dieu and Marseille. RFF says that the number of trains that can be operated on the busiest high speed lines, such as Paris - Lyon, would also be increased.

Safety improvements would include a target to cut by half the number of fatalities caused by trespass on the network. The plan also aims to make journeys 'simpler' through the introduction of regular-interval timetables, accessibility improvements and better provision of information.

RFF President Jacques Rapoport said that the plan aimed to create a modern, reliable and comfortable network for the nation. 'That will be the main task of the future single infrastructure manager', he said, with plans for creating this entity known as GIU to be presented to parliament shortly.