Photo credit (banner): Maxime Huriez / SNCF

SNCF in 2020: New year, new group

SNCF is on the move. In January 2020, we left behind our previous structure—three state-owned entities and their subsidiaries—to become one publicly owned group consisting of a parent company plus four subsidiaries, Keolis and Geodis.

2-minute read

One publicly owned group

  • The three state-owned enterprises have become five companies within a single group: SNCF (our parent company), SNCF Réseau, SNCF Gares & Connexions, Rail Logistics Europe and SNCF Voyageurs.  
  • SNCF is wholly owned by the French State, which may not sell its shares in the company.
  • SNCF owns all of the other companies in the Group, directly or indirectly, and may not sell its shares in SNCF Réseau and SNCF Voyageurs.
  • Geodis and Keolis, formerly subsidiaries of SNCF Mobilités EPIC, are now linked to SNCF, the parent company.

France’s New Railway Pact

France’s New Railway Pact of June 2018 called for a unified, publicly owned rail transport and mobility group to be created on 1 January 2020, bringing three EPICs1—SNCF, SNCF Mobilités and Réseau—and their subsidiaries together under one roof. The 2018 statute calls for four main initiatives: 

  • change the Group’s structure, restoring it to its original status as a company wholly owned by the French State

  • put the Group’s finances on a sound footing by transferring €35 billion in debt to the French State, thus boosting SNCF’s capacity to invest in modernizing and upgrading the rail network

  • open the rail market up to competition, gradually and sector by sector

  • stop recruiting under France’s special railway pension regime and negotiate a new social contract

1 An EPIC (Établissement Public Industriel et Commercial) is a state-owned industrial and commercial enterprise dedicated to serving the public.

Learn more about the New Railway Pact (in French)

Clearly defined roles

  • SNCF, our parent company, now has enhanced management and oversight powers, as well as responsibility for charting strategy and overseeing the entire Group
  • the other companies and business lines within the Group will be fully responsible for running their own operations, in close partnership with customers and employees

Fair, equitable treatment for all rail companies using the French network

Our new structure ensures that SNCF Réseau will treat all rail companies fairly and strengthens its position as the linchpin of the rail system in three core areas: 

  • setting track access fees

  • assigning train paths

Outside these two areas, which are the responsibility of SNCF Réseau, major strategic and investment decisions will be made and approved by our parent company.

Bottom line: the new structure creates a wall between SNCF Réseau and the Group. SNCF Réseau board members appointed by the parent company are required to recuse themselves from discussion of motions affecting pricing, track access fees and train paths, and are prohibited from serving simultaneously on the board of any Group rail company that does business in France.

Finally, to avoid unfair competition, France’s public, independent transport regulation authority (Autorité de régulation des transports, or ART) ensures that all operators have equal access to the French rail network. 

Learn more about ART and its mission