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Colas Rail and Alstom, pioneers of systems contracts for the Grand Paris Express

25 June 2021
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In 2018, Colas Rail (project leader), in a consortium with Alstom, won the first system contract for the Grand Paris Express project. Awarded by the Société du Grand Paris (SGP), the contract involves the supply, installation and commissioning of the track, overhead line and linear equipment for the South-East section of line 15.
As the first companies to carry out this type of work on the project, Colas Rail and Alstom are currently experimenting with the different processes and working methods that will be implemented on future contracts. In order to anticipate potential difficulties, especially regarding the interfaces used for the different contracts, the consortium has built a full-scale prototype of the line’s tunnel, allowing to better visualise the layout of the various tunnel equipment.
Colas Rail and Alstom are also innovating in their working methods by pooling their expertise in order to improve site performance.


Technological innovations to improve performance

In order to comply with the schedules, the Colas Rail and Alstom consortium has developed:
Innovations on machines to speed up installation operations:

  • An ECTR gantry for spacing and squaring operations on sleepers to increase productivity by allowing to complete 250 metres a day compared to 150 metres with traditional equipment,
  • A work train for the installation of the overhead conductor rail, which consists of two platforms designed to facilitate the supply of the rigid catenary equipment over long distances in a tunnel.

Innovations to improve the working conditions of our employees:

  •  The “0 gravity arm”, which makes drilling operations at height easier by supporting the weight of the tools, thus reducing the risks of musculoskeletal disorders,
  • Flash welding of the rails with the automatic Flash-Butt Welding technology, which guarantees high-quality welds produced at a high rate (up to 30 welds per day).


An exemplary and committed site

The consortium also pays close attention to its social and environmental impact, with the implementation of several initiatives such as:

  • An ECODO station for the treatment of concrete as well as to avoid discharges into the environment,
  • Professional integration contracts: already 11,000 hours worked by people who are out of the workforce (long-term jobseekers, recipients of minimum social benefits, young people under 26 with no higher education),
  • The use of a large number of small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) for supplier contracts.


A project on the right track

The synergy of the consortium has allowed progress to be made at a steady pace, marked by:

  • The installation of the first plain line tracks and overhead conductor rail of the Grand Paris Express project. 6,500 linear metres of plain line have already been delivered, and a large portion of them are used for the installation of pedestrian walkways and cable trays.
  • The completion of the new Noisy Champs station, which includes 1,600 linear metres of track to allow for the storage and turning of trains at the line’s terminal station. This is the first work area of the project to be completed.


Colas Rail and Alstom: a joint commitment to the Grand Paris Express project

Having already successfully collaborated on various metro-tramway projects in France (e.g. Reims, Nice and Bordeaux) and abroad (e.g. Cairo and Caracas), Colas Rail and Alstom are strengthening their positions as major players in the market for sustainable and responsible mobility solutions. Both companies are also forming consortiums for other contracts of the Grand Paris Express project, with the ambition that current successes will allow them to win various contracts for the future lines 15, 16 and 17 of the Grand Paris project.
For Colas Rail, this contract is a recognition of its expertise in various lines of business as well as its skills in system contract management for railway equipment and works.

For Alstom, this contract marks the recognition of its expertise and skills in the field of railway infrastructure. It demonstrates Alstom’s ability to provide all of the components of sustainable and intelligent mobility solutions: rolling stock, signalling equipment, infrastructure and service.

Line 15 South will increase the offer of transport from suburb-to-suburb without having to pass through the centre of Paris. This new line will serve 17 stations between Pont-de-Sèvres and Noisy-Champs, all of which will be interconnected with the existing transport network of the Paris region. The South-East section, which the consortium is in charge of, will run from Noisy-Champs to Le Vert de Maisons.

The contract includes two work packages for the supply, installation and commissioning of 46 km of track and 35 switches on the line. In addition, the overhead line and linear equipment package involves the installation of 41 km of rigid catenary, 34 km of cable trays and pedestrian walkways with handrails as well as 17 km of dry riser.
The Champigny-sur-Marne maintenance and storage facility is also included in this contract and involves the design, supply, installation and commissioning of 6 km of track connected to 19 maintenance and storage tracks, which will allow the storage of around 40 trains. The Colas Rail and Alstom consortium will also supply 17 turnouts.

  • Press release - Colas Rail and Alstom, pioneers of systems contracts for the Grand Paris Express
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