French infrastructure manager records loss in 2013

French infrastructure manager Réseau Ferré de France (RFF) recorded a loss of €60 million in 2013 after experiencing a ‘slowdown in railway activity’ across the country.

Although turnover rose by two per cent to €5.7 billion last year, increased investment in infrastructure projects resulted in a negative net income for the year, down from a €2 million profit in 2012.

Throughout 2013, infrastructure investment rose from €5.4 billion to €7.8 billion; an increase of 45 per cent.

Higher capital investment costs have also resulted in rising debts for the organisation, increasing to €33.7 billion at end 2013 from €31.5 billion in 2012.

Announcing its annual results, RFF said that the distance travelled by business passengers fell by 2 per cent last year, with freight falling by 3 per cent.

This slowdown comes at a time when the French government is moving forward with a series of multi-billion euro infrastructure projects. These include; the Grand Network Modernisation Plan – a €15 billion programme which covers the installation of GSMR and ERTMS systems, increasing capacity on LGV lines and improving France’s busiest stations – and a new investment plan for the Ile-de-France region which will see €1 billion spent in 2014.

Between 2016 and 2017 an additional 700 kilometres of high-speed lines will come into service, including the LGV Sud Europe Atlantique between Tours and Bordeaux and phase two of LGV Est between Baudrecourt and Vendenheim, near Strasbourg.

In 2013, RFF also confirmed that it would be spending €410 million over four years to improve monitoring and replacement of switches following the derailment at Brétigny-sur-Orge.