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SYNERAIL was awarded the GSM-R partnership agreement. It is responsible for funding, designing, installing (on 11,500 km), operating and maintaining Global Systems for Mobile Communications Railway (GSM-R) across 14,000 km of France’s rail network until 2025.

Communications and rail network modernisation


As part of its plan to develop and modernize the rail network, SNCF Réseau (formerly Réseau Ferré de France) chose SYNERAIL in 2010 to implement a major renovation plan of the current telecommunications system between trains and on-the-ground operations staff.

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Due for completion in 2016

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A 5-year project

  • 2,000 radio sites
  • 11,500 km of track equipped
  • 350 tunnels equipped
  • 2,000 km of fibre optic network

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  • €730 million, 80% of which comes from the private sector
  • Shareholders in SYNERAIL include VINCI (30%), investment funds managed or directed by ARDIAN (30%) and TDF (10%)

What is GSM-R?

Modern digital Global Systems for Mobile Communication Railway are mobile communication networks used by railways to replace obsolete analogue track to train radio systems with a standard European system for:

  • Communicating between drivers and traffic regulators
  • Issuing radio alerts to all trains in a given sector
  • Communicating signalling data between on-board and track-side systems
  • Managing rights of way
  • Enhancing network availability

This technology simplifies network communications, making it possible to optimise rail traffic, which in turn, bolsters the safety of operations on France’s rail network.
GSM-R has contributed to the creation of a European rail system – a standard communication system used by all rail networks, replacing the 35 different former radio systems.

Click here for more information on the technology.

Sustainable network renovation

The benefits of Private-Public Partnership models for network renovation

The GSM-R project showcases how Private-Public Partnership models can be used to modernise or renovate existing railway infrastructures.
On the SYNERAIL project, the decision to use a Private-Public Partnership model helped to identify and isolate network renovation costs and ensure that a budget allocation was put aside long-term to standardise communication systems throughout Europe and accelerate the deployment of a standard high performance system throughout France’s rail network.

A responsible approach to a sustainable project

From the outset, SYNERAIL decided to use reliable materials that had been tried and tested on railway networks and were renowned for their resilience and durability. Innovations were then incorporated from the design phase through to deployment to enhance energy efficiency: sharing existing sites and infrastructures, conducting thermal analyses to improve the energy efficiency of facilities. SYNERAIL undertook to outsource up to 5% of the total contract costs to small and medium sized businesses or craftsmen.