France - Older General Information

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This document acts as an archive for Recent and Future Changes prior to 2012.

Line closures

In November 2009 the French Cour des comptes ["Court of Accounts"] delivered a report critical of the value for money of many TER services and recommending bus substitution. Some local authorities adopted a more hard-nosed attitude to SNCF in the provision of their local services with councils funding new rolling stock and requiring SNCF to introduce improved timetables.

A particular threat to "lesser frequented" TER and secondary services was a proposal in section 5.3.5 of the 27 June 2013 report of the Mobilité 21 commission to the Minister of Transport, the Sea and Fishing, with its proposal to experiment "for two to five years" with the replacement by bus of some such services (although bus substitution does not seem to have met general favour with the electorate!).

Services which have been withdrawn permanently

  • Sarreguemines - Bitche (December 2011: "suspended" but finance for remedial engineering work was later refused by the government so passenger service is effectively definitively withdrawn)
  • Avallon - Autun (December 2011)
  • the north-western arc of the Paris Grande Ceinture used by short-lived through TGV services between Normandy and eastern France (December 2010, although part will be followed - on dedicated trackbed - by Tram 11 Express tram-train from 2017)
  • Saincaize west curve (Raccordement de Saincaize)(December 2009)
  • Valençay - Luçay-le-Mâle (October 2009)
  • the northern section of the Paris Grande Ceinture used as a through link by 'classic' (Flandres-Riviera) trains between the Nord and PLM main lines (June 2009)
  • Montluçon - Eygurande-Merlines (March 2008)
  • Volvic - Lapeyrouse (December 2007)

In the "tourist/heritage" sector:

  • Train Touristique d'Ardèche Méridionale (Saint-Jean-le-Centenier - Voguë; 14 km) closed after the 2011 season, because of track renewal costs (part has since become a vélo-rail route)
  • Train Touristique de la Mine (Petite-Rosselle - Freyming-Merlebach) seems to have closed after the 2010 season

Services which have been "suspended" but with no sign of reopening

In the "tourist/heritage" sector:

  • CF Touristique de la Mure (St.Georges de Commiers - La Mure; 33 km) closed by a major rock fall after the 2010 season. There remains a local aspiration to reopen at least part of the line. In July 2017 the local authority declared that three years' work was to start, to reopen the section between a new station at La Mure and Le Grand Balcon - a site overlooking the lake of Monteynard (presumably short of the major rock fall at La Clapisse - see press report (in French).

Line openings

  • The Ligne du Haut-Bugey (Bourg-en-Bresse - La Cluse - Bellegarde) was modernised, electrified and reopened (along with the branch to Oyonnax) from December 2010, offering a shorter, slightly faster route to Genève for TGV’s from Paris; however, the overall alignment remains largely unchanged - it is not a "green field" LGV.
  • A light rail system is being developed in Mulhouse; the first phase, which included conversion of the Kruth branch and its linking to the town tramway system, commenced operation in December 2010.
  • The opening of the first phase of the LGV Est on 10 June 2007 represented a further phase of the extension of the LGV network.
  • An east - west curve avoiding St.Germain-des-Fossés opened in December 2006.

See also