Top French railwayman bares all!

28 May 2013

Guillame Pepy, the chair of SNCF the French railway operator, was the after dinner speaker at a recent event I attended.

Mr Pepy’s speech was entertaining but of most interest was his observations about the future (apart from promising to help the British learn from French mistakes!):

  • France has invested a lot in high speed, but not enough in urban, commuter networks
  • he praised GB for the investment made in commuter networks and the consequent growth in passenger numbers
  • the importance of digital, by which I think he meant apps, online purchase/planning and smart ticketing
  • focused on SNCF and others needing to concentrate on door to door journeys, not just station to station
  • cost of travel will be vital in future to allow more of society to use rail – the new OuiGo high speed trains in France are an example of this
  • France is moving to bring track and train operations closer together to aid cost reduction and efficient operation – however, Mr Pepy praised the effects of competition in the same breath!
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