Train at Gare Saint Lazare station: Paris already has a network of fast local trains, the RER
Photo: IMAGO/Gao Jing / IMAGO/Xinhua
France wants to reduce its emissions in traffic and therefore invest massively in rail transport - 100 billion euros by 2040. The money is to be used to expand the rail network and modernize the existing infrastructure.
Accordingly, express trains are also planned for local transport in large cities – similar to the RER system that already exists in Paris.
The initiative is intended to compensate for the imbalance in local transport between Paris and other regions of the country where public transport is significantly weaker.
This should also buffer rising petrol costs, which have made driving more expensive for millions of commuters.
"Not having access to transport can mean not being able to accept a job offer, missing out on education or not being able to see a loved one," said Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.
Record sales for France's rail operator SNCF
The money for the expansion is to come in part from the national railway company SNCF, from the EU and regional governments in France.
President Emmanuel Macron had already announced in November that regional train networks would be built in ten major cities.
Macron initially left open exactly when the plans will be implemented.
Access to cheap transport is socially explosive in France.
Macron's first term in office, for example, was characterized by the Yellow Vests movement, which also arose as a reaction to high fuel prices and in which the frustration of rural France erupted.
The Ile-de-France around Paris is considered one of the most densely populated areas in the world and already has an extensive network of fast local trains, the regional express network RER.
State-controlled rail operator SNCF surprised earlier in the week when it reported record sales of more than 41 billion euros, up 19 percent from 2021. Net profit was 2.4 billion euros.
SNCF boss Jean-Pierre Farandou said last summer it would cost about 100 billion euros to double the number of trains in France and thus achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Wissing also wants billions for train traffic
Transport Minister Volker Wissing also wants to invest tens of billions in the rehabilitation of rail transport in Germany.
For decades, only savings were made in the sector, now rails, switches and signal boxes are dilapidated.
However, it is unclear whether he will receive the money.
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