The programmed end of night trains in France? For some lines, no doubt. For others, maybe not, if ever new operators emerge. The Secretary of State for Transport, Alain Vidal, has announced, Friday, February 19, that the state would withdraw from six of the eight night lines “Intercity” operated by the SNCF from 1 st of July. Only Paris-Briançon and Paris-Rodez-Latour-de-Carol will still be funded. But at the same time Mr. Vidal also invited new rail operators to come forward and offer to “innovative new operating schemes” for these night trains.
a” ball “for the SNCF
These night trains are a” ball “for the SNCF. Their attendance is down 25% since 2011. While they represent only 3% of Intercity passengers, they weigh 25% of the deficit of the same branch, explained the minister, who believes that the model is “exhausted economically.” This activity of SNCF loses annually about 340 million euros.
“The product is obsolete and loses a lot of money. For 1 euro recipe, I almost 2 euros loss. Moreover, it is difficult to circulate. At night, many jobs are on the tracks “, said in January Ghedira Jean, director of the Intercity branch.
Emphasizing the need ” rethink the offer “, he had also said that the opening to competition of these lines was ” an opportunity to seize “.
Decisions July on possible new operators
this is what Mr. Vidal announced Friday it has launched a “call for expressions of interest” to allow for potential rail operators who would exploit these lines offer to apply. The results of this call and the consequent decisions will be announced on 1 st of July.
The opening to other operators SNCF exploitation of certain lines night was – together with the lines of cuts – a scenario that was recommended in May 2015 by the Commission on the future of balance land trains (or TET, the official name of Intercity)
Chaired by the socialist deputy Philippe Duron, the commission had proposed in this case to break the monopoly of SNCF “on the night lines at first, then in a second time, on some day lines, on terms to be defined “.
with the approach of regional elections in December 2015, and the professional elections to SNCF, the government did not however wanted to move forward on these issues
Read also:. Intercités: State delaying difficult decisions
Call for tenders to renew Intercity trains
the government has also decided to launch a tender to renew the trains on at least three of the four lines “Intercity” deemed “structuring” for a $ 1.5 billion. The state will also order 30 additional trains from Alstom, which will be deployed from 2018.
Since 2011, attendance Intercity (22 day lines, 8 night lines) decreased by 20% and the deficit is expected to exceed 400 million euros this year.