GCF leads the way in French railway renewal
The Rossi Group has won two of the three lots in the Suite Rapide maxi-contract
As part of the GPMR (Grand Projet de Modernisation du Réseau), the great French railway network Renewal Project, the SNCF has awarded 2 of the three batches, worth 1,330 million euros, to Transalp Renouvellement, a French company that GCF - Generale Costruzione Ferroviarie (Rossi Group, Rome) has a 40% stake in.
This major award is recognition of the value of "made in Italy" in the railway sector and is important confirmation for GCF - Generale Costruzione Ferroviarie, which exports its know-how to Europe and consolidates and strengthens its presence in a well respected country like France.
"We have been operating on the French market since 2013 - Edoardo Rossi, GCF Chairman said - with specialised workers and technicians and a highly efficient fleet of machines. On the Suite Rapide sites, we have already renewed over 750 km of French railway track and we have also developed operating methods and strategies which have not only helped us meet the agreed 1 km/day target, but also improve our margins of progress by 2-4% in some cases."
The French maxi-contract which is worth over 2 billion euros, known as the "Suite rapide", the fast lane of the SNCF-managed railway renewal programme, deals in large figures: 3 batches of 200 km of renewed track per year, each batch lasting seven years (five years, plus two optional ones) from 2018 to 2024: a project that will completely modernise almost one sixth of the national railway network which, extending over almost 30,000 kilometres, is the second largest in Europe.
GCF and the Suite Rapide
Winning two of the three "Suite Rapide" batches with an undertaking to renew 2,800 km of track over a 7 year period will strengthen GCF's presence on the French market, and is recognition not only of the significant investments made in cutting edge machinery and technology, but also its organisational skills, experience, problem solving qualities and ability to implement innovative methods of intervention.
Each Suite Rapide batch means that GCF will open from 4 to 7 work sites every year, use high performance machinery and a large number of technicians and workers and, above all, will include the delivery of, on average, 1 km of completely renewed track per day.
This has led to the project being called "Suite Rapide" as well as the essential conditions that the participants - the best construction companies in France and in Europe - had to comply with: having the equipment, technical expertise and organisational and operational qualities needed to guarantee performance, lead time, safety and respect for the environment.
"The Suite Rapide - Alessandro Rossi, Transalp Renouvellement Chairman, explained - is a real factory on wheels that involves numerous highly efficient machines that are capable of renewing the railway track in a very short space of time. The aim is to minimise the impact on normal train traffic as much as possible. This is why we work mostly at night time and every morning, we deliver 1 km of completely renewed railway line ready for immediate use. It is a huge undertaking in terms of machinery and human resources, a race against time won by technology and experience."
The "Suite Rapide" system was adopted in France in 2009 with the first 3-year tender for 400 km of renewed track/year. That led to the need to modernise the national network. The results achieved also encouraged SNCF to "raise the bar" to 550 km of renewed track/year (2013-2017 tender) and, with the 2018-2024 tender, to 600 km of completely renewed track/year. The cost of the entire renewal programme will amount to approximately 5 billion euros and just under one third of the French network will be renewed.
Read More: GCF, Sites Suite Rapide