The Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF, "National
society of French railways" or "French National Railway Corporation")
is France's national state-owned railway company. It operates the
country's national rail traffic (including Monaco), including the TGV,
France's high-speed rail network. Its functions include operation of
railway services for passengers and freight, and maintenance and
signalling of rail infrastructure.
SNCF employs more than 180,000 people in 120 countries around the
globe. The railway network consists of about 32,000 km
(20,000 mi) of route, of which 1,800 km (1,100 mi) are
high-speed lines and 14,500 km (9,000 mi) electrified. About
14,000 trains are operated daily. Since July 2013, the SNCF
headquarters are located in a Parisian suburb at 2, place aux
Étoiles, 93200 Saint-Denis.
In 2010 the
SNCF was ranked 22nd in
France and 214th globally on the
Fortune Global 500 list. It is the main business of the
which in 2014 employed 245,763 people and had €27.2 billion of sales
in 120 countries. The chairman of the
SNCF Group is Guillaume
1 Business scope
1.1 High-speed rail
1.2 United Kingdom
2.1 World War II
2.3 Current day
3 Codeshare with airlines
4 Company structure and subsidiaries
5 See also
7 External links
A high-speed train
TGV Duplex from the SNCF
TGV 4402 operation V150 reaching 574 km/h on 3 April 2007 near Le
SNCF operates almost all of France's railway system, including the TGV
(Train à Grande Vitesse, meaning "High-speed train"). In the 1970s,
SNCF began the
TGV high-speed train programme with the intention
of creating the world's fastest railway network. It came to fruition
in 1981, when the first
TGV service, from
Paris to Lyon, was
inaugurated. Today, the
SNCF operates 1,850 km (about 1,150
miles) of designated high-speed track that accommodate more than 800
high-speed services per day. SNCF’s
TGV trains carry more than 100
million passengers a year.
TGV lines and
TGV technology are now spread
across several European countries in addition to South Korea.
TGV has set many world speed records, the most recent on 3
April 2007, when a new version of the
TGV dubbed the V150 with larger
wheels than the usual TGV, was able to cover more ground with each
rotation and had a stronger 25,000 hp (18,600 kW) engine,
and broke the world speed record for conventional railway trains,
reaching 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph).
SNCF has a remarkable safety record. After nearly 30 years in
TGV system has only experienced one fatal
accident, during trials rather than regular operations.
SNCF in partnership with Keolis, unsuccessfully bid for the
InterCity West Coast
InterCity West Coast franchise. In April 2017
SNCF took a 30%
shareholding in a joint venture with
Stagecoach Group and Virgin Group
to bid for the
West Coast Partnership
West Coast Partnership that will operate services on
West Coast Main Line
West Coast Main Line from May 2019 and the
High Speed 2
High Speed 2 line from
Since the 1990s,
SNCF has been selling railway carriages to regional
governments, with the creation of the Train Express Régional brand.
SNCF also maintains a broad scope of international business that
includes work on freight lines, inter-city lines and commuter lines.
SNCF experts provide logistics, design, construction, operations and
SNCF operates the international ticketing
Voyages SNCF (formerly Rail Europe).
SNCF has employees in 120 countries offering extensive overseas and
cross border consulting. Those projects include:
Israel: Assistance and Training.
SNCF International provides
Israel Railways in every area of rail operations
including projects to upgrade the network's general safety
regulations. Other assistance and training programmes involve
Infrastructure and the Traction Division.
Taiwan: Operations Training.
SNCF supervised the prime contractor
responsible for construction of the
Taiwan Railways Administration’s
main high-speed rail line. It also trained rail traffic controllers,
drivers, and crew members. On behalf of the Government of Taiwan, SNCF
managed the high-speed railway Command Control Centre.
United Kingdom: Maintenance. In 2007-2008, SNCF-International
consultants audited the maintenance practices applied to the track,
signalling and overhead electric power line on British high-speed rail
lines connecting London to the Channel Tunnel. In addition, it
conducted an audit of the maintainer’s performance from the service
quality and cost control standpoint, made recommendations for
improvements, and proposed a three-year Business Plan.
South Korea: HSR Electrification Design.
SNCF advised Korean Railroads
on the electrification of tracks between Daegu and Busan and on
linking existing conventional tracks to the new high-speed line. SNCF
also assisted in selecting and inspecting high-speed rolling stock and
trained 400 senior manager, engineers, and executives in a broad range
of skills, including signalling, catenaries, track, rolling stock
maintenance, HSR operation, safety management, marketing, and
passenger information systems. Until the end of 2009,
Korea in maintaining its high-speed.
Spain: Signalling System.
SNCF partnered with ADIF (Spanish railway
infrastructure provider) in the study, supply, installation, and
maintenance of the standard EU railway signaling system along the
Madrid-Lleida high-speed line. On behalf of the Spanish Government,
SNCF designed and led maintenance operations on this line over a
France: Lead Infrastructure and Rolling Stock Maintainer – The scope
of SNCF’s maintenance duties is staggering: it maintains
32,000 km (20,000 mi) of track, 26,500 main sets of points
and crossings, 2,300 signal boxes, 80,000 track circuits, over 1
million relays, etc. It also maintains 3,900 locomotives and 500
high-speed trains. Each of SNCF’s
TGV trains travels more than
39,000 km (24,000 mi) a month – enough to circle the
globe. Each year SNCF’s Human Resources Department provides over 1.2
million hours of training to its over 25,000 employees.
SNCF diesel locomotive in Amiens
SNCF was formed in 1938 with the nationalisation of France's main
railway companies (Chemin de fer, literally, 'path of iron', means
railway). These were the:
Chemins de fer de l'Est
Chemins de fer de l'Est (Est, Eastern Railways)
Chemins de fer de l'État
Chemins de fer de l'État (État, State Railways; merged in 1908 with
the Chemins de fer de l'Ouest)
Chemins de fer du Nord
Chemins de fer du Nord (Nord, Northern Railways)
Chemins de fer de
Lyon et à la Méditerranée (PLM, Paris,
Lyon and Mediterranean Railways)
Chemins de fer de
Paris à Orléans et du Midi (Paris, Orléans, and
Southern Railways; PO-Midi, formed in 1934 from the merger of the
Chemin de fer de
Paris à Orléans and the Chemins de fer du Midi)
Administration des chemins de fer d'Alsace et de Lorraine
Administration des chemins de fer d'Alsace et de Lorraine (AL,
Syndicats du Chemin de fer de Grande Ceinture et de Petite Ceinture
(Great and Little Belt Railways)
The French state originally took 51% ownership of
SNCF and invested
large amounts of public subsidies into the system. Today,
wholly owned by the French state.
World War II
See also: French resistance § Sabotage, and Holocaust train
Following the 1940 Armistice and until August 1944,
requisitioned for the transport of German armed forces and armaments.
The invading German troops were responsible for the destruction of
nearly 350 French railway bridges and tunnels. According to differing
SNCF surrendered between 125,000-213,000 wagons and
France's railway infrastructure and rolling stocks were a target for
French Resistance aimed at disrupting and fighting the German
occupying forces. This allowed
SNCF employees to perform many
acts of resistance, including the formation of the Résistance-Fer
movement in 1943. Nearly 1,700
SNCF railway workers were killed or
deported for resisting
Nazi orders. 150
were shot for their acts of resistance, 500 of them were deported.
Half of those deported died in concentration camps.
German occupying forces in
France also requisitioned
SNCF to transport
nearly 77,000 Jews and other Holocaust victims to
camps. These deportations have been the subject of historical
controversy and lawsuits (such as the Lipietz case) in
France as well
as in the United States (where subsidiary
Keolis is a transportation
contractor) to the present day.
SNCF commissioned French academics to write a history of SNCF
activities during World War II. The resultant report was published in
More recently, some sources have claimed that
France for third-class tickets for Holocaust victims
transported to extermination camps, although passengers were
transported in cattle cars. Other sources have reported that after
the liberation of
SNCF continued to seek payment for
transporting Holocaust victims to Germany. However, historian
Michael Marrus has written that claims that
SNCF billed for
third-class tickets and continued to seek payment after the war ended
were made as part of a legal case brought against SNCF, and did not
match with historians' understanding of what happened. Marrus argues
SNCF had no margin of maneuver during the German occupation and
that the actions of
SNCF employees were not ideologically
motivated. According to Serge Klarsfeld, president of the
organization Sons and Daughters of Jewish Deportees from France, SNCF
was forced by German and Vichy authorities to cooperate in providing
transport for French Jews to the border and did not make any profit
from this transport.
In December 2014,
SNCF agreed to pay up to $60 million worth of
compensation to Holocaust survivors in the United States. It
corresponds to approximately $100,000 per survivor.
On 1 January 2015, Réseau ferré de
France (RFF) merged with SNCF
Infra and the Direction de la circulation ferroviaire (DCF) and became
SNCF Réseau, the operational assets of
and both groups were placed under the control of SNCF.
A "broken nose" style of
SNCF electric locomotive (BB 15000) designed
by Paul Arzens
The industrial designer
Paul Arzens styled many of SNCF's locomotives
from the 1940s until the 1970s. A particularly distinctive type is the
"broken nose" style of electric and diesel locomotives.
TER Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur train in Carpentras
SNCF is recognized[by whom?] as a leader in eco-mobility with a
commitment to become the world’s first operator to offer carbon
neutral travel at no extra cost to travelers.
SNCF has cut emissions
on its cross-channel
Paris to London route by 31% in two years by
using more electricity from non-fossil fuel sources.
SNCF's 39 manufacturing facilities are in the process of “going
green” and 9 sites are already[when?]
ISO 14000 certified. SNCF
developed an interactive website to help travelers calculate the
environmental impact of their travel choices.
In May 2014, the company had discovered that 2,000 new trains they
ordered at a cost of 15 billion euros are too wide for many of
France's regional platforms, Construction work has already started to
In 2015 the company also discovered that the new trains were too tall
to use the Italian tunnels along the Riviera coastline route, so the
trains have to end at the French/Italian border and transfer
passengers to a smaller train.
Codeshare with airlines
SNCF codeshares with Air Austral, Air France, Air Tahiti Nui, American
Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Middle East Airlines, Etihad Airways, Qatar
Airways, and SriLankan Airlines. In exchange,
SNCF allows passengers
on these flights to book railway services between Charles de Gaulle
Airport in Roissy (near Paris) and Aix-en-Provence, Angers, Avignon,
Bordeaux, Le Mans, Lille,
Lyon Part-Dieu, Marseille, Montpellier,
Nantes, Nîmes, Poiters, Rennes, Strasbourg, Tours, and Valence with
their airline. The
IATA designator used by airlines in connection with
these journeys is 2C.
Continental Airlines discontinued its codeshare with
SNCF on 15 August
Company structure and subsidiaries
Current head office in Saint-Denis
The SNCF's former headquarters in the
Since July 2013, the
SNCF headquarters are located in the Parisian
suburb of Saint-Denis at 2, place aux Étoiles, 93200 Saint Denis.
The move, motivated by cutting operating costs by 10 million euros per
year, is historically significant: for the first
time in the history of
SNCF their headquarters is no longer located
within the city limits of Paris.
From 1999 to 2013, SNCF's headquarters were located in the
Montparnasse neighborhood of the 14th arrondissement of Paris,
located near the Gare Montparnasse.
Prior to 1999, the SNCF's historic headquarters was located at 88 Rue
Saint-Lazare in the 9th arrondissement. In 1996 the chairman
of SNCF, Louis Gallois, announced that
SNCF would move its
headquarters to a new location during the middle of 1997.
Since 1 January 2015
SNCF consists of three divisions:
SNCF Réseau is the infrastructure division of SNCF, and carries out
track and other infrastructure maintenance, design and construction.
Subsidiaries in the group include Systra, Inexia and SNCF
SNCF Mobilités is the transport division of SNCF, tasked with the
operation of passenger and goods trains. It comprises three branches
SNCF Voyages is responsible for passenger transport. Constituent parts
include TGV, TER,
Intercités (formerly Corail
Lunéa and Téoz).
Keolis is responsible for urban transport (tramways, bus networks).
SNCF Logistics is the rail and general freight logistics section of
SNCF, including Fret SNCF,
VFLI and other European rail freight
companies (since 2010 collected under the brand Captrain), as well
as rail-freight stock management companies including
France Wagons and
SNCF Immobilier is responsible for the station's maintenance.
SNCF automatic ticket distributing machine at the Épône-Mézières
SNCF has full or partial shares in a large number of companies, the
majority of which are rail or transport related. These include:
France Wagons (100%)
SGW : Société de Gérance de Wagons (67.5%)
CTC : Compagnie des Transports Céréaliers (69.36%)
Naviland Cargo (94.37%) previously CNC Transports, Compagnie Nouvelle
General freight transport:
Modalohr Express (51%)
Rouch Intermodal (98.96%)
Thalys International (70%)
Eurostar International (55%)
Elipsos International (50%)
France (100%) Sold to Eurotunnel.
Rhealys SA (30%)
Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori
Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (20%)
Voyages-sncf.com (50.1%), the on-line travel agency of SNCF
Rail Europe, Inc.
Rail Europe, Inc. (50%) Bought from British Rail.
SNCF International (100%)
Systra (35.87%): engineering for public transport
ICF Habitat Novedis (100%): rental housing (social and private
History of rail transport in France
List of French companies
SNCF locomotive and multiple-unit classes
Transport express régional
Transport in France
Autorité de Régulation des Activités Ferroviaires
Rattle That Lock
Rattle That Lock David Gilmour album
^ "Global 500 2010: Countries". CNN. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
^ PDF, Financial report.
^ Shortlisted Bidders for Greater Anglia and Intercity West Coast Rail
Franchises Department for Transport 24 March 2011
^ Stagecoach and Virgin to join forces with
SNCF for West Coast
Partnership Bid Stagecoach 25 July 2017
^ Stagecoach and
SNCF lead Virgin-branded bid for HS2 operations
Railway Gazette International 25 July 2017
^ Jones, Joseph (1984). The Politics of Transport in Twentieth-Century
France. McGill Queens University Press. pp. 115–116.
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SNCF airs Holocaust regret as it bids for Florida rail News The
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Judiciary" (PDF). Memorial de la Shoah. Archived from the original
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France to compensate American Holocaust survivors
^ Le Monde, Pour le rôle de la
SNCF dans la Shoah,
Paris va verser
100 000 euros à chaque déporté américain 
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place aux Etoiles, 93200 Saint Denis"
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SNCF prend ses nouveaux quartiers à
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^ a b "Le siège haut perché de la
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Les Echos. 20 May 1999. Page 54. Retrieved on 1 May 2010. "Pari
tenu : réceptionné le 19 mars par Bouygues Immobilier et livré
à son occupant dix jours plus tard, le nouveau siège de la
sorti de la gangue du grand ensemble de la gare Montparnasse, dans le
14e arrondissement de Paris, en quinze mois d'un chantier intense qui
a mobilisé sur place jusqu'à 650 personnes. Quelque 800 postes de
travail sont concernés sur les 2.500 qui gravitaient hier autour du
siège historique de Saint-Lazare (9e arrondissement), consacrant la
partition entre une direction générale resserrée et des services
^ "Welcome to the
SNCF server!" (Archive). SNCF. 3 June 1997.
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Captrain brand to consolidate international freight operations 12
February 2010, www.railwaygazette.com
^ "Rapport Financier" (PDF) (in French). Retrieved 1 September
Eurostar Ownership & Structure". Eurostar.
SNCF increases its shareholding in
Keolis to accelerate the next
phase of the company's development
Keolis April 2012
Govia awarded TSGN franchise
Govia 23 May 2014
^ Pepy takes a stake in NTV 10 October 2008, www.railwaygazette.com
Wikimedia Commons has media related to SNCF.
SNCF (in French)
Bachelier Report on WWII activities[permanent dead link] (in English)
SNCF Society - enthusiasts' site (in English) (in French)
Ultimate Guide to navigating the French railroad system
National railway companies of Europe
List of railway companies
Rail transport by country
Railway companies by country
Bosnia ŽFBH2 and ŽRS3
Czech Republic ČD
Estonia EVR and Elron
Serbia ŽS (Kargo, Voz)7
Spain Renfe Operadora
Sweden SJ AB
Switzerland SBB CFF FFS
United Kingdom NR5 / NIR6
1Country partly in Asia
2For the Federation BH
4State with limited recognition
5For Great Britain
6For Northern Ireland
7Newly established rail companies
Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori
Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (1%)