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A safe and high quality railway network

The French network is one of the best railway systems in Europe. SNCF Réseau has made safety one of its priorities. Network modernisation, renewing equipment, prevention… SNCF Réseau has launched several major programmes to maintain and continue to improve the level of performance delivered.

Actions undertaken to secure railway safety
SNCF Réseau is undertaking many actions to ensure the safety of all passengers, third parties and railway personnel, while also continuing to improve service quality.

One of the safest railway systems in Europe

In April 2015 the French railway network was voted the 3rd best system among 25 European countries according to the results of a study conducted by BCG (Boston Consulting Group), an international consulting firm. This distinction did not come about by chance. SNCF Réseau is firmly committed to improving the safety and quality of its service for all those transiting on the French railway network (railway undertakings, passengers, third parties and railway personnel).

Even so, SNCF Réseau does not take railway safety for granted and understands that it requires the full mobilisation of all stakeholders in the world of train transport.

Modernising the infrastructure, a pillar for railway safety

SNCF Réseau is implementing a range of strategic, material and human resource actions in order to meet its commitments related to safety and the continuing improvement of the conditions of use of the railway system.

The Division of Safety, Security and Risk Management (DSSR) of SNCF Réseau defines and implements the safety and security policies for the railway network (passenger and personnel safety, traffic security, work site safety and level crossing safety). It has representatives in all operational Divisions in order to implement approved policies. The company’s strategic plan known as “Network 2020” has defined a commitment to excellence: make the French railway system one of the safest and most regulated in the in the world. Two specific objectives for 2020 have been set:

  • reduce the number of fatal accidents on the railway network by 50%
  • decrease the number of incidents resulting from the poor reliability of the infrastructure by 20%

This has led to the creation of the Division of Safety, Quality and Security (SQS) in the Maintenance and Works sector of SNCF Réseau.

Increasing safety at sensitive points

Although railway traffic on the network is safe, the safety at certain points considered as dangerous can still be improved. Collisions with people and accidents at level crossings represent the two main causes of deaths related to the railway system (90%).

Thanks to infrastructure changes, upgrades to current standards and an intensification of prevention campaigns among the public (especially car drivers), the number of accidents has been fallen by 50% over the last 10 years.

SNCF Réseau is also undertaking a programme of additional actions:

  • works
  • maps of level crossings in GPS devices
  • intensification of prevention campaigns
  • elimination of some level crossings

Railway staff is also involved in improving the reliability of the network. From work sites to railway traffic, they are very aware of safety issues. Specialised training programmes allow them to fully understand and know how to apply current standards, specifications and laws. In this way, railway staff is also better qualified to take preventive actions.

These training programmes also include work on new technologies and enable railway personnel to better react to safety issues thanks to augmented reality (e.g. using connected tablets for 100% traceability and real-time surveillance of infrastructures). 

Teaching responsible mobility – working in schools

20% of VMS school volunteers are employees of SNCF Réseau who have received special training to work in schools. As they are still active in their professional lives, these employees are able to share their experiences with students and speak about prevention based on real-life situations. The multimedia and interactive prevention programme called “Passenger and Citizen” was jointly created with the Ministry of National Education and is shown in schools. It is used to speak to students about railway related risks (electrical risks, collisions with trains, etc.) and civic attitudes to adopt in public transport (respecting other passengers and railway equipment, etc.).

This programme directly contributes to the quality of the SNCF ‘s production and service in the French regions.

Visit the SNCF web site for more information


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