From projects to testing, SNCF Research re-invents mobility and makes exchanges and life easier.

Contactless mobility

SNCF Direct brought you e-tickets, train status updates in real time and a guidance system that steers you right to your platform. Now we’re making smartphones your ultimate travel companion.


“Contactless” systems are based on smartphones plus near field communication (NFC)—technology that allows information exchange between devices up to 10 cm apart—and 2D barcodes, pictograms that can be decrypted with a smartphone app.



SNCF’s Transilien service and TER regional express trains in Franche-Comté are now testing a new mobile website that gives smartphone users instant updates on carpooling options at their next stop, plus contact information for fellow carpoolers.

And there’s more: a panel of Grand Voyageur frequent travellers are currently testing an interactive e-ticket terminal on the Paris-Lille TGV line. With the new system, clients can buy their tickets right from the platform, simply by scanning a 2D barcode with their smartphones.

Virtual certification takes shape

As virtual testing becomes more and more successful, SNCF innovation and research teams are working with some of the top players in industry and research. Our aim: achieve 100% virtual certification by 2015.


Virtual certification is nothing new for stakeholders in the aerospace and automotive industries. And as international borders open, interoperability is increasingly important in the rail industry, both for equipment and for regulatory requirements. Accelerating the certification process is vital, which is where virtual testing comes in: simulations are less expensive and faster, and also take a more comprehensive approach to operating conditions, including extreme situations.


Certifying a train means conducting tests to ensure that it meets the requirements for safety, comfort and environmental protection defined in its specifications and applicable standards. Testing focuses on three areas:

Railway dynamics and track interaction, or the contact between wheels and track—identify potential causes of derailment and determine how fast trains can travel without damaging tracks.
—analyze the slipstream effects of passing trains, sensitivity to crosswinds and the risk of ballast pick-up.
Pantograph and catenary interaction
—identify risks of breaking or arcing.


TrioTRAIN, a European Commission research programme launched in 2009, focuses on virtual testing in all three of these areas with its DynoTrain, AeroTrain and PantoTrain projects. The initiative brings together over 30 partners in industry, research, infrastructure and operations. Participants include Bombardier, Alstom, Siemens, DB, Trenitalia, RFF and SNCF, which coordinates three work packages. Virtual certification will be up and running by 2015.

TrioTRAIN aims to reduce certification time by 75%.

TrioTRAIN seeks to cut certification costs by 80% for trains that are already operating in another country.