Photo credit (banner): Maxime Huriez / SNCF

Opening up to competition

In the 2000s, the French freight rail and high-speed passenger rail markets opened to competition—giving us the opportunity to leverage our unequalled experience in European rail.

Countdown to competition—key dates

15 March 2003

Trans-European rail freight opens up to every company in the European Union.

13 June 2005

The first private freight train runs on the French network.

31 March 2006

Domestic rail freight opens completely to competition throughout the European Union.

8 December 2009

A new law defines and regulates the structure of rail transport, and the French State creates Araf (Autorité de régulation des activités ferroviaires), a new regulator tasked with independently monitoring the rail industry to ensure free competition.

13 December 2009

International passenger transport opens up to competition.

What’s new for you

Now that international rail transport is open to competition, new rail companies can offer trains on lines previously reserved for national operators. For example, trains operated by our Keolis subsidiary now stop in German and English railway stations.

What’s in it for you?  A broader selection of travel offers, a more diverse range of fares and better service.

Photo credits: © Maxime Huriez

SNCF in Europe

SNCF’s rail experience is unmatched anywhere in Europe. We operate Eurostar in the UK, Thalys in the Netherlands and Belgium, Lyria in Switzerland, Alleo in Germany, and Elipsos in Spain. And we’ve only just begun.