The French railway network is an immense web built up over a long time – a network in a state of perpetual change. In 2007, the SNCF group and Réseau Ferré de France, the owner of the French rail network, signed a new infrastructure management agreement to maintain and upgrade the national railway network.
For many companies, among them ETMF, this was the beginning of a challenging new time. “Although our rail network has been maintained regularly, it has aged,” explains Thierry Torti, President of ETMF. “Many companies that are located in different regions in France are currently involved in the modernization program. Among them is Transalp Renouvellement. I basically founded ETMF to efficiently support Transalp Renouvellement as a reliable service provider.”
According to SNCF, by 2020, nearly 2.5 billion EUR will have been invested in updating the French rail network. The French state will support the Grand Network Modernization Plan by providing Réseau Ferré de France with significant funding over six years.
Investments will be used to modernize the existing network by upgrading tracks, signalling, catenaries and structures such as tunnels and bridges. Capacities will be expanded through the creation of new lines, and routine maintenances will be performed.
Furthermore, new high-speed lines will be built to ensure that travel becomes more punctual and comfortable. Mr. Torti soon realized the potential of this ambitious modernization program.
The shareholder of Transalp Renouvellement founded ETMF in 2010; in 2013, the company started operating. “The idea behind the foundation of ETMF was simple,” explains Mr. Torti. “Basically, there were two possibilities to enable operations of work trains. One was to rent smaller trains from the SNCF; the other possibility was to work with powerful railroad engines at the front and rear end of every work train. We were sure that the latter would work out perfectly. At the same time, this new project required the work of mechanics and additional train drivers. Our job as a service provider is to support Transalp Renouvellement with skilled employees such as train drivers with experience in the freight sector. Our first construction site involved four to five trains, was very successful and resulted in more projects.”
Today, ETMF has a workforce of 49 employees, most of them experienced train drivers, and generates turnover of ten million EUR. All the trains are hired from SNCF.
ETMF also owns a share of ESIFER. Founded in June 2014, ESIFER is a leading provider of services such as materials transport, breakdown repairs, traction, shunting and freight throughout France and across the border into Germany.
“As a classical service provider, we work directly for Transalp Renouvellement and exclusively in France,” sums up Mr. Torti. “Our project started in 2013 and will be finished in 2017. Now, we are keen to further extend our work.”
ETMF banks on experienced and qualified staff and ensures effective project completion. The company’s ability to adapt to the needs of this challenging project is a big asset and will help to further continue its successful development.
“As every country has different regulations, so far we are only active in France,” says Mr. Torti. “We are optimistic to continue working on this extraordinary project in the future. This way we are able to contribute to the modernization of the French railway network and to enhance passenger mobility and the transport of goods.”