Réseau Ferré de France

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Réseau ferré de France
state-owned company
Industry Infrastructure & Tracks Proprietor, State Administrator
Predecessor SNCF
Successor SNCF Réseau
Founded 13 February 1997
Defunct December 31, 2014 (2014-12-31)
Headquarters 92, avenue de France
75013 Paris
, France
Area served
Parent Ministère du Transport

Réseau ferré de France (French: French Rail Network) (RFF) was a French company which owned and maintained the French national railway network from 1997-2014. The company was formed with the rail assets of SNCF in 1997. Afterwards, the trains were operated by SNCF, the national railway company, but due to European Union Directive 91/440, the French government was required to separate train operations from the railway infrastructure. On 1 January 2015, RFF became SNCF Réseau, the operational assets of SNCF became SNCF Mobilités, and both groups were placed under the control of SNCF.[1]

Unlike other infrastructure managers, RFF did not provide maintenance services or rail traffic control operations, which were both done by SNCF Infra on RFF's behalf. Furthermore SNCF retained the ownership of stations. In September 2013, RFF had over €32 billion of debt.[2]


The RFF was constituted with SNCF's infrastructure assets, and debts were transferred from SNCF's books to RFF's. RFF was mainly a financial structure focusing on debt refinancing, and contracted the majority of its infrastructure management to SNCF. Signalling on RFF infrastructure was implemented and maintained by SNCF.

The creation of RFF was criticised because of the financial options chosen: RFF was subsidised by the French government in order to pay the interest on debt previously borne by the SNCF, which allowed SNCF to have a positive operating income and thus enabled competition to be opened.

Control centres[edit]

In July 2013, RFF began a project to build 16 regional control centres, replacing over a thousand local signalling centres. The first regional control centre was built in Pagny-sur-Moselle.[3][4]

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