13 April 2021

On the morning of 29 March 2021, regional trains started running again between the towns of Serqueux and Gisors in Normandy. This was an event that followed ten years of regeneration, equipment and safety work carried out by SYSTRA as project manager.

2011-2021: a decade of history has just come to an end in the Pays de Bray, between the regions of Normandy and Picardy. The 50 kilometres between Serqueux and Gisors were the scene of one of the most comprehensive projects ever undertaken by SYSTRA in the conventional rail sector, with a very wide range of skills in studies, design, works and testing.

In 2011, when the project was launched, passenger traffic had been interrupted since the end of 2008 and the dilapidated double-track line was not electrified. A sad end for this section of the Paris – Dieppe line which, since 1873, has provided access to the beaches of Normandy and also to Great Britain by ferry during the Roaring Twenties. But more than its history, it is its geographical location that explains the investments made: Serqueux-Gisors is ideally situated to strengthen the freight service between Paris and the port of Le Havre. SNCF Réseau therefore decided to undertake a complete regeneration of the railway installations.

From regeneration to dynamic testing

In 2011, Inexia won this project with the aim of increasing the speed of traffic from 40 to 12 km/h by renewing the ballast, replacing the rail sections with welded long rails, and replacing the wooden sleepers with concrete sleepers, all on new ballast. As project manager, SYSTRA was involved at all stages, from the preliminary design studies to the scheduling, management and coordination of the construction work.

After two years on site, trains started running again in December 2013, on weekdays only, but the transformation of the railway line was not yet complete.

The project started again in 2017, with SYSTRA as works project manager,” continues Ali Alawieh, project director. In the meantime, the work began with the electrification of the line along with a host of technical and engineering installations.

We listened to local residents and, despite the pandemic, we did everything we could to complete our assignment.

Ali ALAWIEH, PROJECT DIREC TOR

In addition to the equipment, from 2019 to 2021, SYSTRA carried out technical checks and tests on the safety installations and from mid-2020 to 2021, returned as project management assistant for the dynamic tests. This was a wide-ranging assignment for SNCF Réseau.

Ten exemplary years in the service of multimodality

Since 12 March 2021, trains have been using the tracks again, first for freight and then since 29 March for passengers, with four services per day and per direction. This will relieve the pressure on the classic Paris – Mantes-la-Jolie line, which will soon be home to the RER E, revitalise an essential local route for commuters in the region and towards the capital, and also give a new boost to rail freight in Normandy: in the long term, 25 freight trains per day are expected to use these tracks.

In ten years, several dozen SYSTRA employees in France, most of them from FIT, have contributed to this extraordinary project. This complete project involved almost all the Group’s railway expertise and a team based at Gisors. I would like to congratulate them on the work they have accomplished: this project will become an undeniable reference for our know-how for future projects in France and around the world

Céline PICQ, RAIL AND MULTIMODALITY FOR TERRITORIES BUSINESS UNIT DIRECTOR

Key figures – Serqueux – Gisors line

  • 10 project years
    • 2011 – 2018: modernisation of infrastructures
    • 2017 – 2021: signalling modernisation
    • 2019 – 2021: technical checks and tests
    • 2021: commissioning
  • 46 km of double tracks
  • 45 stations (Gisors, Sérifontaine, Gournay-Ferrières, Serqueux)
  • Removal of level crossing
  • Speed increases:
    • From 40 to 130km/h for passenger trains
    • From 40 to 100km/h for freight trains
  • Equipment installed:
    • BAPR (automatic blocks with restrained permissiveness)
    • GSM-R
    • Acoustic screens

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