European Benchmark for Maintenance Practices and Standards of Several Rail Infrastructure Managers for Low Tonnage Freight-only Tracks

European Benchmark for Maintenance Practices and Standards of Several Rail Infrastructure Managers for Low Tonnage Freight-only Tracks


P Billet-Legros, Sétra, FR



Economic profitability is nowadays a prioritary target for the French incumbent rail operator. This led to low traffic areas getting dropped from the SNCF transportation plan, local rail customers being not keen on covering the operator costs on the one hand, the infrastructure wear out making the operations more expensive and less reliable on the other hand.
Some of these shippers, gathered in local associations, voiced concern about losing definitely their possibility to use rail to sustain their logistics, as they were neglected by the historical company and not considered as short term strategic markets or manageable contracts by the newest railway undertakings.
These associations have worked on the characterization of the potential flows (types of goods, origins/destinations, frequency?) that could be aggregated, on the definition of the services, data sharing and other logistics issues ? some of them being not overcome yet ? but are still in search for solutions to cut down on infrastructure costs, on the regeneration and maintenance aspects, this latter aspect weighing heavily on the economic feasibility of such organizations.

Survey purpose:
The present study is conducted by two technical Departments of the French Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Town and Country Planning (Sétra and Cete Nord-Picardie) for the General Directorate for Infrastructures, Tourism and Sea. It aims at comparing maintenance and regeneration practices (stakeholders, referentials, costs, ?) among five European countries infrastructure managers (France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and United Kingdom), and ultimately facilitating the emergence of new referentials, of lighter costs, through different work organizations, intervention types and frequencies, works planning, etc. while ensuring the required safety level with regards to the operations performances users are asking for. It is also hoped to lower costs through the maintenance liability transfer to these private entities, prerogatives to be granted by a law being currently discussed at the Parliament, allowing them to have new stakeholders in the rail public works sector to compete for such contracts.

Specific attention will be paid to get into an appropriate level of details as for the maintenance technics at stake and to put figures on cost elements during the detailed interviews with stakeholders in the different countries the survey will be based on.


Association for European Transport