Small and rural train lines in France are to be split into three new categories, in a bid to maintain them and ensure their continued usefulness, the French government and train company SNCF have said.
The move is worth “several billion euros” and is a “concerted plan of action”, said junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari. It will come into force before February 15 this year.
The plan will see rural regions working with train network SNCF Réseau to “decide the future of small train lines”. It will apply to around 9,000km of lines – around 32% of the national network.
Mr Djebbari said the idea was to “preserve the maximum number of our small lines serving the country as possible”.
The three categories will comprise lines that are “structurally important” for the country; lines on which major renovation is already planned; and others. For the latter category, the regions will need to “experiment” with “innovative solutions adapted to each line, in terms of technical details and governance”, Mr Djebbari said.