Reforms to restructure French railways approved: On 10 July, the French Senate voted on the draft law that will restructure the French Railway Industry. The law passed the Senate with 188 yes and 150 no votes. The vote in the National Assembly was held on June 24, with 355 yes and 168 no votes.
The purpose of the law is to put an end to the existing regulation that leads to additional costs and confusion according to the government's thesis by combining the French National Railways (SNCF) and the French Rail Network (RFF) institutions.
In this context, a public railway group known as SNCF will be established. The SNCF will become a ol mother ”institution as a public authority and will be responsible for strategic control. There will be two substructures underneath; The Directorate of Infrastructure SNCF Réseau and train company SNCF Mobilités. The merger of the RFF, the maintenance work SNCF Infra and the traffic control directorate DCF is considered to form the infrastructure directorate. On the other hand, the train operator will be responsible for station management.
This law also aims at strengthening the role of regulatory purgatory and providing free and non-discriminatory access to the network.
The government expects to save € 1,5 billion annually with this new restructuring. The law also includes new provisions on debt control and finance in rail systems based on performance contracts for the operator and infrastructure directorate. The railway regulator ARAF is gaining additional power and increased independence. On the other hand, the government is required to prepare a National Transport Plan every five years.