French passenger rail competition coming

April 12, 2017

French take first steps to open passenger rail market

Written by David Briginshaw, International Railway Journal

REGIONS of France, an association of regional authorities, held its first hearings on April 6 to gauge the potential for the introduction of competition in the provision of regional rail services, although this is not expected to start until 2024.

The hearings were attended by French National Railways (SNCF Mobility) and its Keolis subsidiary, German Rail (DB) and its Arriva subsidiary, Eurotunnel, Transdev, Thello, and the French Public Transport and Railways Union (UTP). Regions of France says the hearing demonstrated “a strong appetite for new entrants to become full-fledged players in the French market.”

All the operators said they believed opening up the market to competition would strengthen rail’s position and make it more attractive. SNCF currently faces strong competition from other modes and has reduced train frequency on some regional routes.

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