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French Rail Reform: What role for private companies?

French Rail Reform: What role for private companies?

17-06-13

Mr Frédéric Cuvillier, Minister for Transport, recently submitted a proposal to the Council of Ministers concerning the reform of the French rail system. This proposal aims to bolster the role of the State in the management of the French rail system.  In essence, it is a very positive development that the Government has become aware of the vital nature of the rail system for the French economy.  Nevertheless, in reading this proposal, we are entitled to ask what role and indeed what future private rail companies are to have.
That is why ERFA has expressed its very grave concern about the existence of private operators in a system run by and for the historical operator. François Coart, President of the ERFA stated:  “We support the Government’s plan to bring together all the infrastructure management functions under the RFF.  We want a system where the SNCF and private operators coexist:  Private rail companies must have the place they deserve and not that which others decide that they are to have.