October 24, 2018


Tuesday 23 October, French national railway operator SNCF and CNES held the second meeting of their Rail and Space Coordination Committee co-chaired by SNCF Chairman Guillaume Pepy and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall at CNES’s Head Office in Paris. The goal of this partnership between SNCF and CNES set up in 2016 is to work together to devise innovative rail solutions from space technologies geared to the competitive challenges of the digital era.

The Rail and Space Coordination Committee aims to review progress during the past year and set goals for the year ahead.

Since the last committee meeting in October last year, SNCF and CNES have established an organization designed to assure the smooth flow of information between the lead entities in each domain of activity, step up discussions and oversee the partnership’s work.

At yesterday’s meeting, the chief items on the agenda were:

  • Modernization of the control-command system, including safe and reliable train positioning, a key milestone in digitizing rail operations and a major challenge to be met to make the rail system more competitive and more effective. Collaboration in this area aims to achieve industrial-scale production of a family of train positioning solutions built around hybrid positioning technologies using a combination of GNSS, inertial management units and digital maps in particular.
  • Autonomous train systems, from the perspective of remote train operation (RTO) relying on terrestrial and satellite telecommunications. Development of the demonstrator through the TC-Rail project is ongoing, with a first demonstration of remote operation of a locomotive scheduled for the first half of next year.
  • Closer cooperation on the use of Earth remote-sensing assets, notably satellite imagery and interferometry, for railway infrastructure monitoring.

CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall: “SNCF and CNES’s partnership is a very active one. One of the cornerstones of our collaboration is the modernization of control-command systems, in particular train positioning, for which there are common technical, industrial, economic and strategic challenges to be met. I am pleased to say that we are working together on this topic on an almost daily basis. The organization we have put in place enables SNCF and CNES to consolidate topics of interest, identify new synergies and thus create new opportunities.”

SNCF Chairman Guillaume Pepy: “CNES is a key partner helping SNCF to implement its technology renewal roadmap. This partnership is emblematic of the open innovation method that SNCF is pursuing, working with innovative ecosystems like those in the automobile and aviation industries and with CNES and the space sector to conceive the rail system of the future.”


CNES - presse.cnes.fr
Pascale Bresson    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39    pascale.bresson@cnes.fr
Raphaël Sart    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 74 51    raphael.sart@cnes.fr

Press office        Tel. +33 (0)1 85 07 89 89    servicedepresse@sncf.fr