Electricity shortage: will there be fewer trains this winter?

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Will you have to struggle to find a train ticket this winter? In any case, this is what Le Parisien assures, which reveals exclusively that at the request of the government, the SNCF is working on a degraded emergency transport plan this winter with fewer trains in circulation in the event of a shortage of electricity.

According to information from the daily, the government would have asked the railway company “to study the possibilities of reducing the number of trains in circulation this winter if significant electricity shortages were to occur”. A measure envisaged because of the very high electricity consumption of the 15,000 trains in circulation per day, including 14,000 TER and 1,000 TGV or Intercités, of the SNCF. According to Le Parisien, “it is even the company that uses it the most, between 1% and 2% of the annual electricity consumption of France, i.e. more than the consumption of Paris and Marseille combined”.

An assertion to which the Ministry of Transport wished to deny. He assured that the hypothesis of a reduction in train traffic was “a black scenario which would only be used as a last resort”. “The Ministry of Transport has not requested a measure of this nature from the SNCF”, indeed wanted to rectify the ministry to AFP. The government wanted to defuse the fear of French users by ensuring very quickly that if the SNCF had indeed been asked to save energy, nothing had been mentioned about a reduction in train traffic this winter in the event of a power shortage, as asserted by Le Parisien.

According to AFP, Transport Ministers Clément Beaune and Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher simply “asked all transport operators to work on a sobriety plan at the end of July”, as is the case in many other sectors, in order to “contribute to reducing energy consumption by 10%”.

As for SNCF staff, it is assured that the reduction in train traffic would not be a measure effective enough to have a real impact on electricity consumption. “That the State makes this request to us is logical”, indeed entrusted to the Parisian an administrator of the company. “It is even rather reassuring to anticipate the worst. But I do not see how, politically and socially, he will be able to ask for the implementation of a sufficiently degraded transport plan to have a real impact on electricity consumption without other strong measures. Like the obligation for companies to put employees into telework. Otherwise, that means travelers who stay at the platform or crowded into trains, and presidents of Regions (who manage the TER) who cry foul”, he warns.

The government also assures that these emergency plans are common and that operators such as the SNCF very often provide “emergency and contingency plans in the event of a serious problem” such as heat waves or energy supply problems. , in order to reflect on possible “last resort measures”.