Colas consortium to modernise Ligne des Horlogers

Ligne des HorlogersSNCF Réseau awarded a consortium of Colas Rail (leader) a contract to upgrade a section of the French railway line known as Ligne des Horlogers, which connects Besançon, in France, to La Chaux-de-Fonds, in Switzerland. The project will be completed in the summer of 2021.

The consortium comprises Colas Rail, the Colas agency of Pontarlier, Colas Génie Civil, and Legrand.

Under the EUR 22 million contract, the consortium will carry out 34 km of ballast track renewal, the upgrade of 20 level crossings, 12 km of drainage works, the refurbishment of 6 railway structures and the modernisation of the railway signalling over 13 km.

In total, 70 km of railway line between Besançon and the French-Swiss border will be upgraded, with three main work areas located in the cities of L’Hôpital-du-Grosbois, Valdahon and Morteau, in Doubs department.

“The Ligne des Horlogers, whose route is located in a mountainous area, will require a specific technical organisation, logistics and renewal method. The works, carried out in complete traffic interruption, will start in March 2021, with delivery scheduled for the end of August 2021,” François Lambin, Project Manager for Colas Rail, said.

During the renewal project, 8,800 hours of work will be completed by people taking part in professional insertion programmes. This market specificity represents a major challenge for Colas Rail’s recruitment teams, who will have to ensure complementarity between the temporary and permanent staff.

From March to October, SNCF Réseau will perform in Doubs major works to modernise the infrastructure between Besançon and the Swiss border, with the financial support of the Région Bourgogne Franche Comté. A second phase of track modernisation is scheduled for 2024,  Jérôme Grand, Burgundy-Franche-Comté regional director of SNCF-Réseau said.

EUR 55.5 million is the total value of the modernisation works, of which Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Region will provide EUR 22.65 million, the state funding will deliver a EUR 22.65 million financing, EUR 4.2 million will be provided by SNCF Réseau and EUR 6 million is the European financing.

The work completion will allow increased speeds of 90 km/h from currently 50-70 km/h, on different sections. In addition, the Morteau and Valdahon stations will be made accessible to people with reduced mobility.

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