For moving quickly while respecting the environment, high speed rail is the reliable, reasonable and sustainable alternative to air travel, shortening distances and better connecting cities from their hyper-centres.

SYSTRA has been the pioneer of High Speed Rail since the 1980s and has contributed to the design on 4 continents of almost 10,000km of track, i.e. half of the High Speed Lines (HSL) in operation in the world.


High speed rail brings people closer together, reduces journey times and opens up new economic opportunities. The socioeconomic impact of high speed rail lines goes beyond the mere means of transport: any new line is above all a sign of the transformation of regions and the creation of new relationships. With high speed lines, distance is measured not in kilometres but in minutes of distance-time. And to date, it is the most efficient, robust and sustainable solution for interconnecting cities, changing the scale of urban spaces and opening up the potential of their activities.

Added to this are the notions of environmental utility and efficiency: a high speed line helps to relieve congestion on road networks, emits little CO2, and is characterised by a sustainable and long-lasting infrastructure that can adapt to technological developments.

The Fast Track to a seamless, safer railway system

In this publication, we delve into the benefits and challenges that will come with interoperability, and focus on the critical role data, technology and people will play in ensuring the journey is as smooth as possible. We also explore a selection of compelling case studies, provide insight into some of the long-term opportunities interoperable rail networks will present, and offer practical guidance on the best way to make a common platform a reality.


The projects we lead are always the fruit of close collaboration between our teams, our clients and our partners. And it is they who speak most highly of them.

SYSTRA and high speed rail are entirely synonymous. MATTHEW BOTELLE, STATIONS DIRECTOR, HS2 LTD


The experience we have acquired over 40 years in France and around the world enables us to master all the technical solutions on the market and to handle all types of assignment, infrastructure, and systems.

Long before work actually starts, traffic forecasts are made and the socioeconomic and environmental assessments of these projects are carried out. In this way, we accompany our clients from the earliest modelling phases to the determination of routes. A few examples: feasibility studies for the HS2 project in the UK, projects for new lines in France in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Normandy or even from Montpellier to Perpignan.

This support continues during the execution and completion of projects until they are commissioned. This results in contractual arrangements tailored to the needs of the project: integrated project management, assistance to the project owner, independent certification, involvement in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), or Design & Build delivery partner.

In this way, we are at the service of the most ambitious projects, such as the Tours-Bordeaux line (SEA), with control of construction deadlines and costs at all levels, and anticipation of ownership costs. By designing the lines and supervising their construction, we can estimate and manage the full cost of the project for infrastructure managers.


Our commitment to our clients continues right through to the operational phase: for the Tours-Bordeaux line, we thus hold a 30% stake in the operation and maintenance via the MESEA joint venture, a unique position in our sector. This is a long-term commitment, over 50 years, which will mobilise us on a daily basis until 2051 to ensure the optimal quality and efficiency of the line for its passengers.

 This real-time feedback from the field is a major asset for our future High Speed rail projects.


Big data and digital technologies are opening up new prospects for reducing project completion times and for monitoring operating data in real time. The BIM (Building Information Modelling) approach accelerates and makes the design phase more reliable while securing costs and planning. Thanks to its collaborative organisation, BIM facilitates decision-making. It also makes it possible to react very quickly to changes resulting from consultation with local residents.

In the same way, our teams of experts and our digital predictive maintenance solutions support our clients in defining and planning their maintenance strategies for their operational solutions. The installation of temperature, pressure and voltage sensors enables us to collect data that is analysed in real time, for the safety of the infrastructure and greater visibility for the maintainer in order to target interventions and reduce interruption times.

Finally, we are committed to designing innovative and cost-effective solutions to speed up the construction of high speed rail lines, improve their resilience and simplify their maintenance. The standardisation and prefabrication of elements helps us to reduce the quantities of materials consumed, speed up the scheduling of works and reduce the construction costs of the structures. To this end, we have filed a disruptive patent for standardised slab tracks, which is intended for new lines and, as a world first, for track regeneration.


Earthworks and civil engineering account for more than 70% of the cost of a high speed line, which is why our engineers pay particular attention to the parameters related to these two fields.

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