Suite Rapide in France does not stop
The renewal sites are of “priority and of national interest”
The French lockdown does not stop Suite Rapide. The restrictive measures issued by the French government to face the second wave of Covid-19, indeed, do not include the works of the railway sites classified by SNCF as of ‘’priority and of national interest”.
And more so, the sites of Suite Rapide lots, the “quick lane” of the renewal plan of the French railway network on which GCF, through Transalp Renouvellement, has been operating as protagonist for many years.
Hence the works continued during the general stop, North of the Upper France region, at Boulogne-Calais site (17 km of total renewal along line 314.000) and, at the same time, in the Rodano-Alps region, in order to open the night site that, along line 830.000 Paris-Marseille, has the aim to renew the extremely important section south of Lyon, between Saint Fons and Saint Claire-les-Roches stations.
“The new and necessary restrictive anti-covid measures – comments GCF’s French management – have obviously increased the difficulties to face and overcome to mitigate the conditions of discomfort for workers and site operators. For example, when the restaurants were forced to close, direct agreements and accords were stipulated to deliver the meals to be consumed by each worker individually in their rooms”.
Sanitary measures were also boosted that – even if they were never reduced- since March, have become part of the habits, gestures and ‘’barrier behaviours” against the possibilities of contagion: physical distancing, constant sensitisation of the hands, limitation of contacts, regular use of the mask and in particular, strict compliance with all the protocols drawn up for the execution of the various activities at the sites and during rest hours.
“It is a consistent and ongoing commitment – underscores GCF management – that we must take on to reconcile the work activity with the everybody’s health. A commitment that involves any decisional and executive level, every person engaged in the production process that, in our specific work, boasts multiple elements of objective complexity”.
As in the case of the works between Saint Fons and Saint Claire-les-Roches, the contiguity of the railway like with 10 “Seveso sites”: industrial areas that, due to the type of works performed and products and materials stored in the warehouse, are considered highly at risk and impose binding safety measure for any activity performed nearby.
Or the presence of 107 railway and road bridges, the crossing of 8 railway stations in which any discomfort or risk for travellers must be limited: or, in terms of “electric risk”, the presence along the entire line where the works are carried out, of a duct housing a 3200 V cable, and the presence of railway sections considered “blue zones”, where the catenaries are at least 5 metres high from the track surface and therefore, the risk of accidental contact during works is particularly high.
About 160 operators are working to renew the four tracks along the section, assigned to powerful convoys specialised in replacing the rails (Matisa P95) and restore the screed with the use of C75 that, currently under extraordinary maintenance by the specialised team at Pont à Vendin yard, will be transferred next week to the operative base of Portes-lès-Valence, ready to enter in service. The completion of the works is foreseen by mid-January.
With regards to Calais site, started in early September, the replacement works of the track by renewal train P95 have been completed as well as the restoration works of the screed by Matisa C75, and now the profiling operations are been ultimated with a R21 and the last “touch ups” by tamping machine B45 that is completing the final level.
The site will be submitted within ten days.