Adapting to climate change

As climate change becomes more disruptive, we’re adapting our network and finding ways to continue delivering quality service.

Staying ahead of change

Climate change is real. Its effects include:

  • higher temperatures
  • less precipitation
  • rising sea levels
  • greater frequency of extreme weather events, including heat waves, storms and flooding

Because rolling stock and rail infrastructure last for 30-100 years, we’re already thinking about how to adapt the French rail system to meet the climate challenge between now and 2050. And because these decisions are multi-decade commitments, they’re critically important—not only for SNCF, but for all of France.

Adapting rail operations to a new climate

In 2016, we launched two studies to identify the impacts of climate change on rail operations in France.

The first study will establish nationwide climate change indicators, using a multi-year analysis of the rail system’s sensitivity to weather.

The second is designed to determine the impact of climate change on the Paris region’s Transilien commuter system, from the perspective of both the rail operator and its customers.

Sustainable air conditioning: Two paths to innovation

SNCF is currently testing two new air conditioning systems for rail coaches, with the aim of developing systems that are more efficient, consume less energy and emit less greenhouse gases.

Since 2015 a high-capacity AGC trainset, made by Bombardier and operating in France’s Occitanie region, has featured new air cycle technology developed by Liebherr, an aeronautics specialist. Instead of using fluorinated gases as a refrigerant, Liebherr’s turbine relies on ambient air—an approach that promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly over the system’s entire life cycle.

Meanwhile a self-propelled Régiolis trainset, made by Alstom and operating in the Grand-Est region, has been fitted with a new Alstom air conditioning system. Using a heat pump in combination with an innovative regulation device, the new system has cut energy consumption by over 30%