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SNCF Réseau’s European action

Published on 06/13/2021 updated on 05/07/2021

A true railway area without borders or barriers is emerging in Europe. This co-construction naturally involves SNCF Réseau, which maintains a permanent dialogue with the European Commission and European railway players to identify the areas for improvement and performance that will shape the railways of tomorrow.

Europe, SNCF Réseau’s natural playground

SNCF Réseau participates in the evolution of the European railway area at various levels. In terms of international policy, the company has three main objectives:

  • Develop international rail traffic

In order for rail to be perceived as the most modern, environmentally friendly, competitive and convenient solution, passenger and freight services must be continuously improved and promoted. In a context where 10% of passengers and nearly 50% of goods travel beyond France’s borders, this dual challenge of performance and reputation is a core mission for SNCF Réseau, in line with the European strategy for sustainable and intelligent mobility.

  • Harmonise European rail infrastructure management

SNCF Réseau’s strategic project shares the ambitions of the European Union and the many players in the European rail sector. Among them, the number one objective is the creation of a single continental railway area, in which it will be as easy to move from one country to another as it is to move between two regions. Permanent and constructive dialogue is essential for this harmonisation. SNCF Réseau, through its Europe Division, is the main contact for European authorities, infrastructure managers, and all the group’s international customers, alongside the Commercial Division.

  • Lead projects to optimise the performance of the European rail system

International cooperation applies to many areas. While the quality of the service offer dominates the concerns of all rail stakeholders, technological, ecological and regulatory issues also require special attention. To cover each of these aspects and perfect the interoperability of Europe’s railways, all the protagonists in the railway area must bring their vision and resources into line. SNCF Réseau’s Europe Division participates in the bodies where changes in the commercial, regulatory and technical framework that may have an impact on SNCF Réseau’s activity are decided.


PRIME, a collaborative platform for a harmonised European rail system

Created at the end of 2013, PRIME (Platform of Rail Infrastructure Managers in Europe) is the precursor of the European network of rail infrastructure managers. The main objective of this organisation is to implement the Single European Railway Area. Its 39 members are working to outline the major strategic challenges of tomorrow’s railways, to improve the efficiency of the existing network and to offer better support to customers. In its 2018 annual report, PRIME aims to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of European networks, to contribute to the sharing of knowledge and best practices, and to identify common development strategies, with the support of the European Commission, to prepare the railway network of the future.

Performance des systèmes ferroviaires européens : le rapport PRIME donne le “la”

Go to the official PRIME website


“This approach allows us to be transparent about our performance, to learn from and with our partners by comparing ourselves, to identify levers for improvement and to play a leading role in the development of the European railway system.“

Alain Quinet, Executive Director General of SNCF Réseau and co-chair of the European PRIME platform


(video) SNCF Réseau and Europe, the global vision of the network provided by Europe:


At the heart of a European freight transport offer: the corridors

European freight corridors are international rail routes that meet the specific needs of long-distance freight traffic. The 11 European corridors have been created to link all stakeholders, transport markets and services, with the aim of contributing to the increase of the modal share of rail freight in Europe.

Four of them pass through France. SNCF Réseau is a member of each of the management committees: 


The main missions of the corridors 

  • One-stop shop for allocation of pre-established paths
  • Support for coordination between infrastructure managers
  • Relationship with the advisory groups of railway undertakings and terminals along the corridor


Further reading:
See the map of rail freight corridors crossing France
Access the one-stop shop to order paths in the freight corridors


(video) SNCF Réseau & Europe – Paul Haudgson, Director of International Activities at CFL Cargo, talks about the benefits of opening up to the international market:


European subsidies: providing essential financial support

Each year, the subsidies paid by the European Union to SNCF Réseau help finance modernisation of the network, including in non-border territories. When it identifies projects likely to benefit from European funds, SNCF Réseau’s Europe Division assists project managers with their funding applications. 

In 2020, more than 60% of the dossiers submitted by the Europe Division were subsidised. These include two flagship projects:


Find out more:
The European Commission's Transport section
SNCF Réseau's projects supported by the European Union


Serving all these ambitions: SNCF Réseau’s Europe Division 

In order to act efficiently and consistently, SNCF Réseau has set up a Europe Division. This team of 12 people designs and leads SNCF Réseau’s European strategy. It promotes its ambitions, projects and positions to all European rail stakeholders. Whether it is a matter of delivering the commercial offer for the corridors, setting up cooperation between infrastructure managers to serve SNCF Réseau’s customers, seeking European funding for its projects or contributing to the technological and regulatory changes that will perfect rail interoperability on the continent, the Europe Division supports, leads and cooperates with all the territories and all the company’s departments. 


(video) SNCF Réseau & Europe - The vision of the Europe Division:

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